Marcus Rashford hails “courage” of Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov after he pleaded with fans to stop

Marcus Rashford hails “courage” of Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov after he pleaded with fans to stop
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 England forward Marcus Rashford has hailed the “courage” of Bulgaria skipper Ivelin Popov after he pleaded with fans to stop their racist chants during England’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory  Rashford opened the scoring in a game which was marred by abhorrent racism from the stands – with abandonment becoming a very real possibility over the course of the 90 minutes  Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings were among the Three Lions stars targeted by racists with the fixture halted twice during the first half as part of UEFA’s three-step protocol  England decided not to leave the field and the match was completed with Gareth Southgate’s side running riot in Sofia in spite of the actions of some Bulgarian supporters  Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov was seen pleading with a section of fans to stop the chants during the half-time break, seemingly realising the match was in serious danger of being called off  And Rashford tweeted after the game: “Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019 Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out.  “Thankful to the brilliant England support You got behind us in the most meaningful way possible tonight and we are all very grateful Have a safe journey home and take care.  “Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed ”  Staggeringly, Bulgaria boss Krasimir Balakov claims he didn’t hear any abuse over the course of the game  It comes after Balakov claimed before the match that England has a bigger racism problem in football than his home country  “If this is proven to be true, we have to be ashamed and apologise for this,” he said  “It is probably because the fans were unhappy with the way the team was performing ”  Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley each scored twice for England with Harry Kane completing the rout

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