England’s support at Euro 2012 has suffered because of “horror stories” in the media discouraging fans from traveling to Poland and Ukraine, England coach Roy Hodgson has said.
Discussions of racism and hooliganism in the two host countries featured widely in the British media in the run-up to the tournament, while former England defender Sol Campbell warned that fans risked coming back “in a coffin”.
The brother of black England player Theo Walcott cited fears of racism at the reason Walcott's family would not travel to Euro 2012.
Speaking after England beat Ukraine 1-0 in Donetsk on Tuesday, Hodgson labeled the debate “the biggest negativity in England” and said that it had diminished the team's traveling support.
“As a result I think we’ve lost a lot of fans who didn’t come because of a lot of horror stories about how life would be in the Ukraine and Poland,” he said.
Hodgson added that he had nothing but positive impressions of Poland, where England are based, and Ukraine, where they played all their group stage games.
Ukraine finished third in Group D with three points from a 2-1 win over Sweden in their opening game.
Italy await England in their quarterfinal match, to be played Sunday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.