England breeze past Romania
Nicolae Stanciu appeared in central midfield for Romania as they lost narrowly to England at the Riverside stadium.
Marcus Rashford’s penalty late in the second half was enough to secure a 1-0 win for the Three Lions, although in truth they should have won by several more, hitting the post twice and missing a further penalty.
— England (@England) June 6, 2021
Stanciu refuses to take the knee
However, the pre-game antics took centre stage once again. Several members of the crowd booed England’s decision to take a knee to raise awareness against racism, while Stanciu chose not to take a knee whatsoever.
When asked why he chose not to do so, he explained it was in solidarity with his clubmate Ondrej Kudela, who has been banned for ten games for alleged racism in the Europa League.
“I did it to show solidarity with Kudela, my colleague at Slavia. He was suspended for 10 games based on no evidence. I don’t believe kneeling is the solution”
Stanciu on choosing not to kneel before the game vs England: “I did it to show solidarity with Kudela, my colleague at Slavia. He was suspended for 10 games based on no evidence. I don’t believe kneeling is the solution” pic.twitter.com/RkD87Jgv02
— Emanuel Roşu (@Emishor) June 6, 2021
Kudela was found guilty of racist abuse towards Rangers player Glen Kamara as Slavia Prague knocked Rangers out of the Europa League at the last 16 stage.
In the dying stages of the game, Kudela said something to Kamara which incensed the Rangers midfield, although it is difficult to be conclusive about whether it was racism as Kudela had his hand over his mouth.
Nevertheless, Kamara and his fellow Rangers players’ reaction suggests that something far worse than the swearing Kudela claims was said. The Slavia Prague player vehemently denied the “disgusting accusation” of racist language, but Steven Gerrard in his post-match interview noted that:
“My player tells me he was racially abused”
The result was a ten-match ban for Kudela, while Glen Kamara was also bafflingly handed a three-match ban for his part in the affar.
Stanciu clearly believes that his team-mate was innocent in the altercation, as he proved with his pre-match actions.