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Southgate says England fans can intimidate Italy but not boo anthem

FOOTBALL By Reuters | July 11th 2021
People are seen in front of a giant mural created by street artist Nathan Parker of Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling ahead of the Euro 2020 final against Italy - Bullring, Nuneaton, Britain - July 10, 2021 Action Images via Reuters

England manager Gareth Southgate said the team's fans can try to intimidate Italy but should remain respectful and not boo their national anthem ahead of the European Championship final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

A section of England fans booed when Denmark's national anthem was played before their semi-final meeting. Jeers were also heard when the German anthem was played at Wembley when England beat Joachim Loew's side in the round of 16.

European soccer's governing body UEFA fined England's Football Association 30,000 euros ($35,619) after a laser pointer was shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

"It's important that our fans always respect the opposition and we know that in fact when we play abroad and fans boo our anthem it probably inspires us even more, so I don't think it will help the team," Southgate told reporters on Saturday.

"I think we can intimidate the team with the booing during the game, but it's different for the anthem. I think we should be respectful."

Former England international Gary Lineker made a similar request to the country's fans last week.

"If you're lucky enough to get a ticket for the final, please, please don't boo the Italian anthem," Lineker tweeted on Thursday. "A/ It's an absolute belter and worth listening to. B/ It's bloody rude, disrespectful and utterly classless."

England have not won a major tournament since their solitary success at the 1966 World Cup and the country is gripped with anticipation of ending that wait on Sunday.

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