England manager Roy Hodgson has apologised for any offence caused by a joke he told at half-time in England's 2-0 win over Poland.
The joke - about an astronaut and a monkey launched into space - was reportedly intended to encourage players to pass to Andros Townsend, but allegedly shocked at least one player, who believed the story carried racist connotations.
Hodgson, who has been surprised by the reaction to the incident, was unreservedly apologetic if any offence had been caused.
"I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time," he said in a statement.
"There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate.
"I made this clear straight away to Andros in the dressing room.
"I also spoke to Andros again on Wednesday. He has assured me and the FA he did not take any offence, and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended."
The joke in question is believed to be popular with American space agency NASA.
"NASA decided they’d finally send a man up in a capsule after sending only monkeys in the earlier missions," the tale goes.
"They fire the man and the monkey into space. The intercom crackles, 'Monkey, fire the retros’. A little later, 'Monkey, check the solid fuel supply’.
"Later still, 'Monkey, check the life support systems for the man’. The astronaut takes umbrage and radios NASA, 'When do I get to do something?'
"NASA replies, 'In 15 minutes – feed the monkey’."
Townsend has played down the incident, as he posted on Twitter on Thursday: "I don't know what all this fuss is about.
"No offence was meant and none was taken! It's not even news worthy!"
England qualified for next year's FIFA World Cup with the victory over Poland.
|10||W. Rooney||41' 80'|
|Coach: R. Hodgson|
for M. Carrick 71'
for D. Sturridge 82'
for A. Townsend 86'
|Lemina rejects Gabon call-up|
|Toure a doubt for Sunderland clash|
|Millen ´ready´ to manage Palace|
|Carver urges Newcastle to kick on|
|Bellarabi extends Leverkusen deal|
|Wenger hails ´committed´ Arsenal|
|Diouf will be missed - Hughes|
|Millen elated at resolute Palace performance|
|Lambert: Big point for Villa|
|Martinez rues Cisse decision|
|Dyche delighted by Burnley character|
|Allardyce: Officials got it horribly wrong|
|Poyet rues dropped points at Villa|
|Bruce frustrated as dominant display yields no points|
|Pellegrini laments key turning points in Burnley setback|
|Newcastle United 3 Everton 2: Pardew´s men impress at St James´ Park|
|League One Review: Swindon climb into second, MK Dons suffer surprise defeat|
|Championship Review: Bournemouth go four points clear, Boro held|
|Koeman hails Southampton spirit|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0 Aberdeen 1: Pawlett strikes sends McInnes´ men second|
|Mourinho fumes at ´campaign´ against Chelsea|
|Manchester City 2 Burnley 2: Barnes claims a point to deny champions|
|West Ham 1 Arsenal 2: Wenger´s men climb above hosts|
|Hull City 0 Leicester City 1: Mahrez fires Pearson´s men to victory|
|QPR 0 Crystal Palace 0: Millen makes solid start as temporary Palace boss|
|Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 0: Delph sees red in stalemate|
|Stoke 2 West Brom 0: Diouf brace secures back-to-back wins|
|Southampton 1 Chelsea 1: Mourinho´s men end 2014 on top|
|Van Gaal frustrated with wasteful finishing|
|Pochettino content with goalless draw|
|Tottenham 0 Manchester United 0: Honours even at White Hart Lane|
|Klose vows to fight for Lazio place|
|Hughton admits interest in Palace and Brighton roles|
|Injuries not behind retirement plans, says Rolfes|
|Podolski: Arsenal exit not a formality|
|Wellington Phoenix 1 Western Sydney Wanderers 0: Krishna wins it|
|Taylor wary of ´beast´ Lukaku|
|Al Habsi to lead Oman at Asian Cup|
|Lacazette will stay at Lyon - Aulas|
|Southampton like Atletico, says Alderweireld|
|World Cup held PSG back - Blanc|
|Everton facing ´pivotal´ moment - Martinez|
|Zamora urges QPR to tie down Austin|
|Badstuber, Alaba set for New Year return|
|Burgos: Atletico will get the best out of Torres|
|Chelsea to offer Terry new deal - Mourinho|
|Rodgers excited by Sterling development|
|Strinic close to finalising Napoli switch|
|Torres to join Milan on permanent deal|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic held to shock draw, rivals fail to capitalise|
|Wenger sings Song´s praises|
|Pochettino calls for bravery|
|West Ham could lose Allardyce - Sullivan|
|League One Preview: Saunders takes charge for Colchester clash|
|Aguirre denies any involvement in La Liga match-fixing scandal|
|Mourinho impressed by Koeman´s Southampton|
|QPR v Crystal Palace: Millen recast in familiar role|
|West Ham v Arsenal: Allardyce eyes further home comfort|
|Elusive Coppa Italia on Juventus´ wish list - Marotta|
|Jones eyes swift response|
|Millen focused on QPR clash|
|League Two Preview: Shrewsbury, Wycombe and Burton vie for year-end top spot|
|Mancini not expecting big-money signings at Inter|
|Tottenham v Manchester United: Carrick expects tough return|
|Pearson eager to see Leicester resolve|
|Newcastle United v Everton: Martinez demands clinical touch|
|Liverpool v Swansea City: Rodgers backs returning Mignolet|
|Bayern can still improve - Sammer|
|Warnock sacked by Palace|
|Aston Villa v Sunderland: No club too big to go down, says Lambert|
|Hull City v Leicester City: Pearson vows to keep going|
|Stoke City v West Brom: Hughes targets elusive back-to-back wins|
|Rodgers dismisses Balotelli exit rumours|
|Modric will not rush Madrid return|
|Dyche pleased with Vokes return|
|Southampton v Chelsea: Koeman vows to go on the offensive|
|A-League Review: Six-goal Gosford thriller, Victory leave it late|
|Manchester City v Burnley: Pellegrini warns against complacency|
|Dortmund can fight on two fronts - Watzke|
|Sterling hails improved Liverpool belief|
|Rosicky eager to build on QPR winner|
|Wenger: ´We made it hard for ourselves´|
|Kane: Spurs eye top four|
|Di Maria in doubt for Spurs clash|