Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Football Association are among those to condemn the racist abuse aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka following England’s heartbreaking Euro 2020 final penalty shootout loss to Italy.
England took an early lead at a rocking Wembley Stadium through Luke Shaw, but were pegged back by Leonardo Bonucci’s goal and could not find a winner in extra-time.
The drama of penalties saw England take an early advantage after Jordan Pickford saved from Andrea Belotti, but the tide turned when Rashford hit a post from 12 yards.
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Sancho, with what was his first kick of the ball after being introduced as a late substitute, saw his effort saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, who also kept out Saka’s effort to ensure England’s wait for a major trophy goes on.
Gareth Southgate and his team took the England fans on a tremendous journey at Euro 2020, and captain Harry Kane spoke positively about how they are on the right track, but a minority were quick to turn on those who missed in the shootout.
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Some of the abuse aimed at the trio was utterly vile, and Johnson - who was in the crowd for the match with the Azzurri on Sunday - condemned the abuse.
“This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media,” the Prime Minister wrote on Twitter. “Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
The FA also released a statement condemning the abuse.
The sight of Saka in tears following the game was difficult to watch, and former Manchester United defender and now TV pundit Gary Neville has urged the nation to rally round the Arsenal man.
“It is heartbreaking for the boy,” said Neville on ITV. “The whole nation is going to need to cuddle him. Everybody has loved this boy for the past few weeks and they will love him in the next few weeks. He has been absolutely brilliant.
“Gone are the days when we criticise players for missing a penalty. Fifteen or 20 years [ago] there might have been a scapegoat. That is not going to happen this time.”
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