Spain hit out at England’s behaviour in U21 final

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Spain FA president Luis Rubiales and under-21 international Sergio Gomez criticised the behaviour of England during the European U21 Championship final on Saturday.

England beat Spain 1-0 to win the trophy for the first time in 39 years, with Cole Palmer’s free-kick, which deflected in off Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones, proving the difference in an ill-tempered match.

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Palmer celebrated England’s goal in front of the Spain bench, sparking a melee between both squads that subsequently saw Spain fitness coach Carlos Rivera and England assistant coach Ashley Cole receive red cards.

Subsequent altercations between the teams flared up as the two sides headed to their respective changing rooms at half time, and again at the full-time whistle after England goalkeeper James Trafford saved Abel Ruiz‘ last-gasp penalty — England’s Morgan Gibbs-White and Spain’s Antonio Blanco were both shown red cards in second half stoppage time.

Gomez, who joined Manchester City from Anderlecht last summer, said in an interview with Cadena SER: “It surprised me. He [Palmer] didn’t want to apologise or anything like some of his other team-mates. I don’t know, I would have celebrated it in a different way and my team-mates would have done it in a different way as well.

“They [England] have the attitude they want to have. This is not the first time something like this has happened with this team. We have tried to represent our country in the best possible way and have the utmost respect for all our rivals. They wanted to celebrate it like this and also after the missed penalty.”

Palmer admitted that he may have gone too far with his celebrations when speaking to Channel 4 after the final whistle.

“Obviously, it means a lot. Been working a lot over the past few years for this moment and it’s come so I’m buzzing,” Palmer said.

“I was a bit frustrated with the way they were going down and screaming [earlier in the match]. The celebration was maybe a bit over the top but [I’m] just happy.”

Spanish FA president Rubiales was also unimpressed with England’s behaviour during the match which saw seven players receive yellow cards from referee Espen Eskas.

“They are unimportant things, I have already spoken to whoever I had to speak to,” Rubiales said. “These players are already men and some gestures [from England] could have been avoided.

“Here, we not only train footballers but also people. It is almost inevitable to jump into some provocation, but the people of the RFEF [Spanish FA] behaved very well. “We know how to win as we demonstrated with the Nations League and when we lose we shake hands with our opposition.”

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