England anthem Denmark crowd booGetty/Goal composite

Why do some England fans boo national anthems of their opponents?

England's run to the final of Euro 2020 captured the imagination of the English public, with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane inspiring a new generation of supporters.

However, the behaviour of some of the Three Lions supporters - particularly the booing of national anthems - took the sheen off, leading to words of condemnation. The anthems of Scotland, Germany and Denmark were subjected to boos and jeers when England lined up against them, but why?

Goal takes a look at the reasons and the response to the booing of the anthems. 

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Why do some England fans boo national anthems of opponents?

It is not clear exactly what the motives of some England fans are when they decide to boo the national anthems of opposition teams. Truly, only they can outline the rationale.

At the most basic level, however, it appears to be some sort of attempt to intimidate the opposing team by creating a hostile atmosphere in the stadium.

Some England fans have also infamously booed their own players for the gesture of kneeling in support of the fight for racial equality.

What has the response to England fans booing anthems been?

UEFA was prompted to charge and fine England for the behaviour of their supporters during the national anthems following their Euro 2020 semi-final victory over Denmark.

The European governing body specifically referenced "disturbance" caused by fans during the anthems, along with the lighting of fireworks and the use of a laser pointer. The Football Association was subsequently fined £26,000 as a result of UEFA's investigation into the matter.

England manager Gareth Southgate has expressed the view that the booing of a national anthem does not help his team.

"It's important our fans always respect the opposition," Southgate said ahead of the Euro 2020 final against Italy.

"We know that when we play abroad and fans boo our anthem it inspires them more. I don't think it will help the team. We can intimidate the team booing during the game, but it is different for the anthem."

Former England striker Gary Lineker, who now works as a television presenter, was much more critical of the fans who boo anthems than Southgate, describing it is an embarrassment.

"Booing? Really? Come on, we’re better than that," Lineker wrote in the Players' Tribune. "Sing songs, get drunk, throw pints, have fun. That’s what we do. That’s our culture.

"When you boo other national anthems and our own boys taking the knee, when you act out your worst impulses, often in the name of 'patriotism', honestly most of us are embarrassed by it."

Another former England international, Gary Neville, wondered if the booing of an anthem was really as much of a contentious issue as people have suggested.

The Manchester United legend wrote on Twitter: "When I played in the different countries and our [national anthem] was booed I always took it as the opposition fans trying to unsettle us, drown out our fans and never as some kind of attack on us as people. Same when we did it [to] other teams. Is it really that bad or disrespectful?"

In the aftermath of the Germany and Denmark games, England World Cup winner Geoff Hurst pleaded with supporters not to boo Italy's anthem in the final.

"We have seen that sadly over the years, disrespecting the opposition," Hurst said on ITV. "I do sincerely hope that the English fans can behave with great respect."

Overall, the reaction to the incidents of anthem booing have been met with disapproval, with other figures outside of football showing opposition to it.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We don't want fans to be booing teams. We want fans to be showing support and being respectful."

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