It’s been exactly one year since England beat Germany 2-0 in the last-16 of Euro 2020 at Wembley.
The Three Lions ended their 55-year wait for a knockout tie victory over their old enemy and did so in front of a jubilant stadium.
Late goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane sealed the historic victory that left the nation dreaming of football coming home.
Of course, it would end in devastation with a penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the final but that victory over Germany will be remembered for many years to come.
However, we wanted to remember that match for another reason.
Towards the end of the tie after Kane had made it 2-0 with minutes remaining, BBC cameras caught a young German girl in tears being comforted by her father. When the image was shown on the big screen at Wembley, a big cheer went around.
If that wasn’t enough, the poor girl was then mocked mercilessly in the following days on social media.
It led to Gary Lineker tweeting: “Absolutely disgusting. Sickening xenophobia.”
But one football fan wasn’t having it.
Joel Hughes from south Wales decided to show the world a different side to the UK.
He set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the young German girl and her family.
“I watched the match, it was a good match. I was aware of some of the negative atmosphere, you could hear the booing and whatever, but I didn’t think any more of it,” he said.
But after seeing “vile abuse of the images of that little girl” Mr Hughes said he’d “had enough of this.”
“We have a vocal minority of idiots who are swamping out the good in the UK and they’re ruining our perception on the world stage and they’re ruining our relationship with our friends and partners in Europe,” he added.
He wanted to show the world “there is some good in the UK”.
“It’s striking a chord with a lot of people who are fed up with this kind of online abuse.
No words necessary. pic.twitter.com/8qF4BtJelV— Stan Collymore ❤️🖤 (@StanCollymore) June 30, 2021
“I’m not trying to change the world here… if we can end up putting a smile on that girl’s face or making her parents understand that there is actually good in the UK, then at least we’ve done one thing.”
The JustGiving page ended up raising more than £35,000 before her family released a statement.
“In the interests of our daughter and our family we would like to remain private however we wish to thank everyone for your amazing support. Our daughter would like to request your generous donations go to UNICEF, knowing that your kindness will do good.”
Mr Hughes added: “I am beyond grateful to all the supporters of this campaign without whose help we would not be where we are today – from the bottom of my heart, I thank you! Thanks also to all the warm messages of support from around the UK, Europe, and as far away as Japan. Huge thanks to the JustGiving team for all their invaluable help, and to UNICEF as the worthy charity chosen by the family. Finally, I would like to give special thanks to the family at the heart of this campaign, their grace, courage, and generosity is an inspiration.”