Gary Neville insists booing national anthem is “not an attack” amid England controversy

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Gary Neville has claimed that the backlash over England supporters booing national anthems has gone too far.

There has been widespread condemnation across social media, after fans opted to boo Germany and Denmark’s national anthems at Wembley.

The Three Lions have been backed by vociferous crowds, with more than 60,000 admitted for the semi-final win over Denmark.

Ahead of both home knockout games, the opponents have seen their anthems drowned out by home supporters.

UEFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against England for the actions of the crowd during the 2-1 victory against Denmark.

England fans booed Denmark's national anthem ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2020 semi-final

It was confirmed that three incidents had caught UEFA’s attention, with the “disturbance of national anthems” joined by the use of a laser pointer and the lighting of fireworks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged fans to respect the Italy anthem on Sunday’s final saying:

"We don't want fans to be booing teams. We want fans to be showing support and being respectful.”

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But Neville, who earned 85 England caps, believes the hostile atmosphere is part and parcel of the game rather than anything more sinister.

“When I played in different countries and our NA was booed I always took it as the opposition fans trying to unsettle us, drown our fans out and never as some kind of attack on us as people,” he posted on Twitter.

“Same when we did it other teams. Is it really that bad and disrespectful?”

Gary Neville has claimed that the booing is not an attack, but rather part of creating a hostile atmosphere
(Image: @CanalSupporters / Twitter)

Neville has been covering the tournament as part of ITV’s coverage and host Mark Pougatch has suggested he will sing along with the Italians.

He said: “The Italian national anthem is so sensationally good that if you go on Sunday do what I did on Tuesday – sing along with it.

“The words are on the big screen, you’ll think you can speak Italian, it’s so life-affirming & then you can sing God Save the Queen! Simples!”

Meanwhile, Kyle Walker has urged supporters to back the team one more time and swatted away any complaints over their home advantage.

England have played all but one of their Euro 2020 games at Wembley, but Walker has said that is simply just “rub of the green” that comes along with hosting tournaments.

“These emotions and these types of games grab hold of you,” he said. “We want one more effort from the fans – because that 12th man is vital.

“I hear people complaining now that England have got an advantage playing at home. But we never complained when we played certain people in their backyard, it is just the rub of the green.”

Buy the official Euro 2020 final match programme here.

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