England thrashes Bulgaria 6-0 in a game marred by racism.
Rather than the scoreline!
But if there was a bittersweet answer to those factions of the crowd that did all they could to damage the beautiful game, this was it.
There was already a large section of the Vasil Levski Stadium closed off as punishment for racist incidents from back in June of this year.
That apparently did not deter the sections of the home crowd hurling racial abuse at the England players, as well as vulgar hand gestures and even Nazi salutes.
Most importantly for England, they recovered from a humbling defeat at the hands of the Czech Republic in the qualifier from a couple of days ago.
It took only seven minutes for Manchester United’s out of form Marcus Rashford to open the scoring, with a shot from a tight angle.
7 minutes gone Bulgaria 0 -1 England.
Ross Barkley doubled the Three Lions lead in the 20th minute, sending a Raheem Sterling effort goal-bound and into the back of the net.
20 minutes on the clock, Bulgaria 0 – 2 England.
Harry Kane then turned provider in the 32nd minute, setting up Barkley for his second and England’s third.
Kane sent over an inch-perfect cross from the right-wing, and Barkley made no mistake heading the ball home.
32 minutes gone, Bulgaria 0 – 3 England.
After the second of two very much unwanted breaks ordered by the officials due to the crowd’s behaviour, Raheem Sterling got in on the action too.
In the fourth minute of injury time, Kane again with the assists, set up Sterling for a nice simple tap in from close range.
Half time: Bulgaria 0 – 4 England.
In all fairness to the Bulgarian players, they tried to encourage their fans to stop the chanting and the abuse.
Unfortunately, it was to no avail, as it appeared to only fall on deaf ears.
England came out for the second half and continued the onslaught.
Sterling adding his second and England’s fifth in the 69th minute. The move saw some silky footwork from the Manchester City man to beat Iliev.
69 minutes gone, Bulgaria 0 – 5 England.
The thrashing was complete when captain Harry Kane got in on the action too. An 85th-minute goal from the Tottenham striker only added insult to injury.
Fulltime: Bulgaria 0 – 6 England.
England is top of Group A on 15 points and will need results in their November games to secure their qualification.
Gareth Southgate will be proud of the way his team handled the hostile environment, and even more happy about the way they bounced back from defeat.
Bounced back in style 🙌
— England (@England) October 14, 2019