By 90Min
October 14, 2019

England's players could walk off the pitch during through their encounter with Bulgaria due to the disgusting racial abuse being aimed at Gareth Southgate's men.

In the build-up to the meeting, Three Lions striker Tammy Abraham was among the Three Lions players to caution their hosts that racist chanting from the crowd could see the visitors abandon the match. However, the supporters at Stadion Vasil Levski refused to heed the forward's warning as they watched their side get torn apart by the World Cup semi-finalists.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

UEFA recently began a new protocol for dealing with racist behaviour at games, which involves a player first informing his captain of the abuse, with the skipper then relaying the information to the officials.

The next step sees the referee lead the players off of the pitch as a caution is announced via a public announcer to those in the stadium. If the abuse does not cease, a decision may be taken by the officials to abandon the fixture.

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling netted either side of a brace from Ross Barkley to put England out of sight by half-time, Southgate's recruits building an unassailable 4-0 lead by the break.

The Manchester United striker smashed a ferocious effort into the roof of the net to opening the scoring in Bulgaria, before his Chelsea counterpart rounded off a fine move to double the advantage.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Throughout the night, abuse from the stands had been growing, with Sterling, Rashford and debutant Tyrone Mings the main targets. Midway through the first period, the referee halted play as a stadium announcer informed supporters that the game could be suspended if their chanting continued. 

A group of hooded Bulgarian ultras, all wearing black, were then seen leaving the stadium but it is unclear whether they were ejected or left voluntarily.

Soon after, Barkley made it three for England, yet the midfielder's goal only worsened the whistling and harassment from the stands, resulting in another stoppage that ended with a section of the crowd leaving the venue.

Due to the repeated interruptions, five minutes of time were added onto the opening half, with Sterling tucking away a delightful pass from Harry Kane to make it 4-0.

Here are some of the most poignant tweets on the incidents during the first half:

For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!

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