Moscow police said they have detained a person after a statue was vandalised at the stadium where England played Colombia at the World Cup.
Russian social media users posted a picture of the statue of former Spartak Moscow player Fyodor Cherenkov, who died in 2014, with the word “England” inscribed in red across the chest.
Police said that an investigation is underway and “as a result of the measures taken by police, the individual who committed this act has been identified and detained.” Police did not identify the suspect, or specify a nationality.
The police statement was released at almost the exact moment England beat Colombia in a penalty shootout, indicating the person who was detained didn’t get to watch the match.
The vandalism prompted a storm of criticism of English fans on Russian social networks, with users calling them poor guests at Russia’s World Cup.
Cherenkov is not well known outside Russia, but remains a hero to Spartak fans after winning three Soviet titles and one Russian title with the club. When he died in 2014 aged 55, reportedly of a brain tumor, thousands of fans attended his funeral.
The piercing sound of horns and cheers of Colombia’s football fans fell silent after their World Cup dreams were shattered in a nail-biting last-16 loss on penalties to England on Tuesday.
The teams faced a shootout after Colombia’s Yerry Mina scored one of his signature headed goals in stoppage time to cancel out England captain Harry Kane’s 57th minute penalty and the score was still level at 1-1 after extra time.
England have a traditionally poor record with penalties – they were the team’s undoing at the 1990, 1998 and 2006 World Cup, as well as the 1996, 2004 and 2012 European Championship. But coach Gareth Southgate’s team prevailed 4-3.
England will face Sweden in the quarter-finals.