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Marko Arnautovic handed one-match Euro 2020 ban for insulting North Macedonia star during Austria’s fiery opening Euro 2020 win

Marko Arnautovic handed one-match Euro 2020 ban for insulting North Macedonia star during Austria’s fiery opening Euro 2020 win
Austria forward Marko Arnautovic has been hit with a one-match suspension at Euro 2020 for insulting a North Macedonia player during his country's opening 3-1 win at the finals.

UEFA have banned the 32-year-old from Austria's clash with the Netherlands on Thursday in Amsterdam, punishing the temperamental targetman for "insulting another player".

Now plying his trade for Shanghai Port in China, the former Premier League marksman reacted in raging fashion to scoring Austria's third goal, needing to be calmed by teammate David Alaba, who grabbed him by the jaw.

Reports alleged that Arnautovic insulted Ezgjan Alioski, who plays for Leeds, and made reference to the North Macedonia wing-back's Albanian heritage.

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologize — especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," wrote Arnautovic in a statement that was posted on social media on Tuesday.

"I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist.

"I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity."

Arnautovic's groveling has not been enough to evade punishment, and he will now be made to sit out the important game at the Johan Cruyff arena that could decide who wins Group C.

"It’s a shame [for Austria] because he’s a very good player," Netherlands coach Frank de Boer commented.

Given that he faced anything up to a 10-match ban from all competitions, the far lesser slap on the wrist might be seen by some as a cop out by Uefa. 

Born to an Austrian mother and a Serbian father, Arnautovic will be well-versed in the tensions of the region.

The incident follows a similar saga when Switzerland beat Serbia 2-1 at the World Cup in 2018.

With Kosovans of Albanian-descent Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri each netting, the Serbians were offended by the 'double eagle' celebrations brandished by each player.

A pro-government newspaper in Serbia claimed they had "humiliated" Switzerland, while Swiss manager Vladimir Petkovic – who was born in Bosnia – said: "You should never mix football and politics."

"It's just emotion," said Liverpool playmaker Shaqiri, who was booed by Serbia fans before kick off when his name was announced.

Also on rt.com ‘I stand for diversity’: Euro 2020 hothead Arnautovic denies racist goal celebration as North Macedonia urge ‘harshest punishment’