Euro 2016 organisers, you suspect, are pretty relieved that Russia have been eliminated from the tournament at the group stages.
So-called ‘ultras’ from the country marred the opening week of the European Championships, deliberately targeting England fans - according to intelligence sources, per the Independent - in order to knock them off their perch as ‘top dog hooligans’.
England and Russia went head-to-head in Marseille on the second day of the tournament and there were ugly scenes inside the Stade Velodrome at the full-time whistle, as Russian hooligans stormed the England end.
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Russia were subsequently handed a suspended disqualification and fined €150,000 by UEFA; a large group of hooligans, meanwhile, were deported from France.
While it initially looked like an unprovoked attack at the full-time whistle, a man who has been ‘heavily involved’ in hooligan gangs representing Zenit St Petersburg and Russia has told Goal that the hooligans had been antagonised by England supporters all match, hence their heavy-handed response.
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Russian: England fans insulted us and threw objects
"It was very bad work from the police,” Misha told Goal. “They didn't separate the English from the Russians with anything, just a thin tape. In Russia at a game, there are two blocks separating you.
"All the game, the England fans were shouting 'f***ing this, f***ing that, f***ing c***', all the game, because they think that nobody will smash them. It was all the game!
"In Russia, if you say this, I have to smash you. I cannot tell you 'hey, f*** you' and walk away. In Russia, if somebody tells you this, you have to smash them.
"That's why it happened after all the match of 'f***ing, f***ing, f***ing' with their fingers raised and, when Russia scored the goal, England were throwing coins at the Russian sector. These were real Russian hooligans, the top boys. All the match, they were like a bear, then responded but no-one from England would fight. They all ran away.”
"We don't want to say that it is all the fault of the police and English," Alexey, another Russian, added. "You have to expect things. Of course, we fight but, if you say something in Russia, you have to be willing to answer. You are not able to just say without thinking, without some consequences."
2018 World Cup is just two years away...
England fans will also be relieved that Russia have been eliminated, although it’s now just under two years before the 2018 World Cup finals get underway in the country.
In the meantime, though, the Three Lions’ supporters will be travelling to Nice to watch their team attempt to book their place in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals against Iceland.
Should Russia be stripped of the 2018 World Cup? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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