Russia forward Fyodor Smolov blamed England and Wales supporters on Sunday for the violence that marred the opening days of the European Championship. (RESULTS | STANDINGS)
Russia supporters attacked England fans at the final whistle of their teams’ game at Marseille, while England and Wales fans had minor clashes with Russia supporters in Lille during the first week of Euro 2016.
“I’d like the supporters to go on backing us,” Smolov said as he prepared for Russia’s final Group B match against Wales on Monday. “As for everything that goes on around us, there have been a number of videos uploaded on the web.
“The English really did provoke them, the English and Welsh fans. These incidents must not go on in international football stands. If people go out and have the intention of fighting, they should do it elsewhere, not in the stadium.”
Following the trouble at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, UEFA has said Russia will be disqualified from Euro 2016 if there is more violence by the team’s fans inside stadiums in France.
Russia coach Leonid Slutsky adopted a more conciliatory stance when asked about fan behavior.
“Any disorder like that violence in Marseille, that’s all in the past,” Slutsky said. “A number of measures have been taken to make sure things go on in a civilized fashion.
“If it could help, I would like supporters to continue to get behind us within the framework of existing legislation, not only in football, but in civilized society.”
Wales coach Chris Coleman praised his country’s supporters, asking them to “just do what you’ve been doing.
“Come and support us. Enjoy the game,” Coleman said. “Enjoy the atmosphere. I think you saw against England, there were a few English fans in with the Welsh supporters and the English fans were saying how well the Welsh supporters were behaved, how much they welcomed the English fans that were sat next to them, how much they enjoyed the game together.”