International football is a complex game, with some uplifting and inspiring moments, and others - an exercise in banal nationalism. Let's talk about that epic Euro 2020 final, fought at Wembley between two exceptional teams. And let's talk about who we supported.

In Wales, for those with a view, reportedly three quarters of us supported England, while a quarter supported Italy.

Having grown up on the continent, I decided to back England, begrudgingly. While the English fan base has been an embarrassment at times, football for me is about the players, who they are on and off the pitch.

It is them who inspire generations and make those who came before them proud. Southgate and Mancini have been in hot water in the past on the topic of racism in football.

Southgate with his support for Mark Sampson, his counterpart for the women's team who had allegations of "bullying and discrimination" by striker Eniola Aluko, and Mancini who actively refused to call up Mario Balotelli after he threatened to walk off the pitch due to racist insults from his opposition.

Those incidents were a few years ago now but neither has shown remorse or learning from their actions. While it is hard to spot the difference in the managers, the teams could not be more different.

The Italian football team's official line when it comes to kneeling before kick-off in an act of anti-racist solidarity, is that the players will do so only if the opposition requests it.

This is the physical embodiment of being not racist. It is passive and not enough, to be someone who believes in equality, you have to be anti-racist. The team came to this decision after the game they played against us, when the Welsh team took the knee while only five Italians did the same.


The real pain for many people to watch, wasn’t the Italian win, but the idolizing of players as Bonucci who are actively racist and are not held to account.

The English team is something our isles can be proud of, symbolic of the values our governments should take forward. The faith in the youth, the unwavering support of the elders and the underlying hope of writing a new story, with many of the players speaking out on issues that mattered to them, as well as showing a generation what we can do with support and faith. 

As a young woman of colour here in Britain, having grown up in Europe, I could see myself in many of the English players. However in supporting England, or at the very least not being negative, myself and others received backlash from Welsh football fans. Whatever happened to love thy neighbour?

One thing was clear to me: those who felt supporting England means betraying Wales are not self-aware. With supposed benign Welsh nationalism becoming ever more sour as many key players seek to suppress minorities, we as a nation and as sporting fans need a values check.

Racism has been an issue in football for years and has kept so many out of the game. There needs to be intervention on this to radically change the culture of the game, with footballing governance bodies as pivotal in this.

As for our dysfunctional family of nations, we share values that should never be compromised in the name of hate. Supporting minorities within a group cannot be optional when it comes to inclusion.

The racism many of us face everyday in the pursuit of our happiness and dreams should not be acceptable in the 21st century. Wales must be actively anti-racist.

Many fans in this tournament need to understand that, not just in Italy and England, but here in Wales. If you were there cheering on Italy and turning a blind eye to the abuse faced by young black English men, you need to reassess your values.

They were vilified on social mediaand messages of support ring hollow when you have not been reporting the aggressions.