Gareth Southgate refuses to say if England will walk off if racially abused in Hungary 2 months ago

Gareth Southgate refuses to say if England will walk off if racially abused in Hungary

'We know we've had our own issues at home so we're not really focusing on other countries'

Gareth Southgate refused to confirm on Wednesday whether his England side would walk off the pitch against Hungary if they were racially abused by fans.

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England play their first game since the Euro 2020 final on Thursday when they travel to Budapest to take on Hungary at the Puskas Arena in a World Cup qualifier.

Hungary has a history of abuse at their games, with the national side ordered to play their next three UEFA competition matches behind closed doors following racist abuse and homophobic banners in the stands during Euro 2020.

Despite the punishment from UEFA, a sell-out 60,000 crowd will be present for Thursday's match. This is because the game is being played as part of a FIFA tournament (the World Cup) and not UEFA.

In October 2019, England players briefly paused their match against Bulgaria before carrying on the game after sections of fans racially abused Southgate's side.

Asked if his team would walk off the pitch should players be racially abused in Budapest, Southgate said: "I don't think we should speak hypothetically.

"We know the experience we had before [in Bulgaria] but we're going into Hungary preparing for a game against a crowd that will get behind their team.

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"We're looking forward to the challenge of the match and everything else is speculation really."

When asked if the players had been prepared for potential racist abuse at the Puskas Arena, Southgate said: "We always prepare the team for everything really."

He added: "We've done that this week, but also we know we've had our own issues at home so we're not really focusing on other countries, we're focusing on ourselves and making sure we get our own things correct."

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Related links:

Lewis Hamilton condemns Hungary’s ‘cowardly’ anti-LGBTQ+ law ahead of Grand Prix

Over The Rainbow: How Hungary sportswashed its way to the front of UEFA’s queue

11 arrests made in investigation of racist abuse towards England players

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After England's defeat to Italy in the European Championships final, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all racially abused online.

England defender Harry Maguire said of potential racist abuse: "We speak about different scenarios going into every game, not just Hungary away.

"To speak about something in the future and something that you're predicting might happen is a bit unfair.

"As players, we're fully focused on going to Hungary and playing in front of a full crowd and a great atmosphere.

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"It's a team which have shown they're more than capable at the Euros, so we're expecting a tough test and we're more focused on the game to try to get the three points to qualify for Qatar."