‘Football the winner, scoundrels the losers': England fans berate Boris Johnson after World Cup win

3 Jul, 2018 23:36
‘Football the winner, scoundrels the losers': England fans berate Boris Johnson after World Cup win
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Denis Balibouse / Reuters

After England booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a penalty shootout win over Colombia, Three Lions fans tore into UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who was a vocal critic of the Russia 2018 tournament.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a diplomatic boycott of the World Cup after accusing Russia of involvement in the March poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal. This meant no British officials would attend the finals, including FA President Prince William.

Johnson went one further and alluded to supporting a complete boycott of the Russia 2018 World Cup by the England national football team, comparing the competition to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany under The Third Reich.  

Johnson said that UK participation at Russia 2018 would not “go ahead as normal” if Russian involvement was proven in the Skripal incident.

But after England despatched Colombia with their first ever World Cup penalty shootout win, advancing to the quarter-finals 4-3 on penalties at Spartak Stadium, England fans have been quick to criticize Johnson. 

Fans have called for the UK foreign secretary to "apologize" for appearing to back a boycott, while others have called Johnson a "scoundrel" and a "clown," and some have laughed off the idea of a boycott in the shadow of their joy. 

Many fans expressed their disgust at politics interfering with football, which was a feeling echoed by England manager Gareth Southgate in the lead-up to the tournament.

"It's of little interest to me what the foreign secretary thinks about it (the World Cup)," Southgate told reporters in a press conference in March. 

READ MORE: ‘If you stayed home you’re a mug!’ England fans on 'unbelievable' Russia World Cup trip

Southgate, himself a former England international who missed the decisive penalty for his country in the semi-final at Euro 96, has led The Three Lions to their first ever World Cup penalty shootout win in beating Colombia 4-3 after the game finished 1-1 after normal time and extra time.

England earlier qualified from Group G with a game to spare and have now booked a date with Sweden in Samara on July 7.