The heartbreak on the field was nothing like the truly tragic scenes that followed after England’s stars had walked off the pitch at the end of the Euro 2020 final.
English stars Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho have been targeted by a torrent of disgusting threats and abuse online after the they missed penalties in the wild 3-2 penalty shootout loss to Italy on Monday morning.
The trio had vile comments left on Instagram and were sent monkey emojis, prompting a strong response from the Football Association.
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Rashford and Sancho were left particularly exposed when they were subbed on in the final minutes of extra time by manager Gareth Southgate — specifically so they could be used in the penalty shootout.
It was a gamble that backfired for Southgate with both players missing from the spot and when 19-year-old Saka had his shot saved, it was game over for England.
The reaction from online trolls was as sad as it was predictable.
The FA said it was “appalled” and “disgusted” by the online abuse.
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“We’re disgusted that some of our squad — who have given everything for the shirt this summer — have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game,” the England FA tweeted.
“We stand with our players.”
Marcus Rashford has been a target of online abuse.Source:Getty Images
A separate statement said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.” London’s Metropolitan Police said it was investigating the “offensive and racist” posts.
“We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final,” it said in a tweet.
“This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.” England’s players have made a strong stand against racism at the tournament, taking a knee before their games including Sunday’s final
Southgate has particularly been forced to defend himself against accusations he threw Sancho and Rashford to the wolves by putting them in for the penalty kicks. He also said he decided to give captain Harry Kane the first penalty kick, while giving Saka the daunting final spot kick.
England’s midfielder Bukayo Saka reacts after missing a penalty.Source:AFP
“I chose the takers,” Southgate told ITV. “I’m unbelievably disappointed not to go one step further.
“We decided to make the changes at the end of the game, but we win or lose together as a team.”
Arsenal winger Saka, who had only made five international appearances before the tournament, saw England’s final penalty saved by Donnarumma, after Jorginho had wasted the chance to secure the title for Italy when his effort was kept out by Pickford.
“That was my decision to give him (Saka) that penalty,” said Southgate, who missed the crucial penalty when England lost in the Euro 96 semi-finals to Germany on home soil.
“We worked with them in training. It was a gamble.”
— with AFP
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