The disorder and abuse that scarred England’s defeat by Italy met a scathing reaction from media across the continent.
Еhe booing of visiting teams’ national anthems, footage of fans without tickets breaking through barriers to get into Wembley and the online racist abuse of England’s unlucky penalty-takers has made many commentators in continental Europe question notions of English fair play.
Victory would have been beautiful, but this defeat, this violence and racism, put the finger on a bitter truth. How to make oneself hated by all? Through these images, of a minority, certainly, but of a minority that is noisy, too visible and too tolerated. Alcohol does not explain everything.”
As the celebrations over Italy’s victory died down, the Italian press on Tuesday reflected on the violence and racism that marred the aftermath of the final, with La Repubblica describing Sunday night as “the darkest in English football”. Under the headline “No fair play, we’re English”, the online racism against black players showed that England “has not learnt how to react to defeat”.
“What happens with England when it comes to football happens with other things, too,” wrote Oppenheimer. “While it is a powerful, advanced and often generous country, ‘[and] a pioneer in disciplines from science to art and thought, it is also a petulant country, incapable of accepting its limitations.”