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Sports

Hodgson urges England fans to stay calm in St Etienne

media England boss Roy Hodgson (left) and England captain Wayne Rooney have both condemned the fighting which took place between England and Russia fans in Marseille. Reuters/Uefa

The lone woman in her sixties looked apprehensive as the train doors opened at Givors Ville on Monday morning to reveal a carriage full of England supporters of various shapes and hues.

Undeterred, she stepped gingerly into the sweaty morass and was instantly offered one of the fold down seats. “Oh! Merci,” said the startled matron. “We’re not all hooligans,” remarked one fan. “Well, at least not until we get to the ground,” riposted another.

It was 11.30 in the morning and perhaps a tad too early to adopt a martial stance. Or perhaps the England manager’s condemnation of the fans’ fighting with Russian supporters in Marseille had sunk in.

“We hope incidents of that kind will not occur again," said Roy Hodgson on the eve of the game against Slovakia in St Etienne. "We want the fans who come to the game to be able to enjoy it in the way that both England and Wales fans seemed to enjoy the game last Thursday in Lens.”

The 68-year-old added: “That’s our hope and that’s our dream. The reality doesn’t always work out that way but our attitude towards the violence remains the same. We want fans to come and enjoy the football.”

He urged fans without tickets to stay away from St Etienne and stay out of trouble. “The team doesn’t like to hear stories about our fellow countrymen being taken to hospital after being injured in violence around a football match," he added.

One small consolation for England's football authorities is that England fans are not the only ones causing trouble. The Euro 2016 organisers, Uefa, said on Monday that an inquiry had been launched into the behaviour of Romanian and Albanian supporters during the match in Lyon on Sunday night. Uefa has already threatened Russia with disqualification after its fans hurled racist abuse and charged the section of the Velodrome in Marseille housing England supporters on 11 June.

Uefa has also started investigations into the actions of fans from Croatia, Turkey, Hungary, Belgium and Portugal.
 

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