Euro 2020: England’s Defeat And After. England players face racist abuse, Southgate takes responsibility for Saka penalty 'gamble'

July 12, 2021 06:15 PM

Euro 2020: England’s Defeat And After. England players face racist abuse, Southgate takes responsibility for Saka penalty 'gamble'

LONDON - England are currently coming to terms with the fact that ‘it's not coming home’. Despite enjoying home advantage for most of the Euro 2020, the Three Lions succumbed to Roberto Mancini's invincibles in the summit clash at the Wembley Stadium. What happened on the field is now part of history, but all that went down off it is probably a more pressing concern. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka subjected to fan hate; Three Lions supporters wreak havoc at Wembley and Trafalgar Square; English media outlets mollycoddle Southgate’s men.

Let us walk you through all that happened after Gareth Southgate's men collapsed at the iconic Wembley:


Three English players face racial abuse

Three players who missed penalty kicks for England in the decisive final shootout were subjected to racist abuse online, prompting the English Football Association to issue a statement condemning the language used against the players. Bukayo Saka, at 19, one of the youngest players in the England squad, missed the penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England their first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup. It was England's third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also missing.

The FA said in a statement it was appalled by the abuse of the three players. The team had taken a knee before games at the Euros to signal their support for an end to racial inequality, and the young, multi-ethnic squad won the hearts of the soccer-mad country before the shootout failure brought out all-too-familiar messages of hate.

“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible," the FA statement said. "We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.” London's Metropolitan Police also said it was investigating offensive and racist messages on social media.


Southgate takes full responsibility, Kane keeps chin up

The England coach was criticised for his strategy of bringing in Rashford and Sancho off the bench to take penalties while star Raheem Sterling was sidelined in the shootout. “They were the best takers we had left on the pitch. I'm unbelievably disappointed not to go one step further,” Southgate said.

Explaining his decision of giving Bukayo Saka a shot in the penalty shootout, he added, “We win and lose together. That was my decision to give him (Saka) that penalty. We worked with them in training. It was a gamble. We decided to make the changes at the end of the game, but we win or lose together as a team.”

Three Lions captain Harry Kane decided to keep his chin up. He said, “The boys couldn't have given more. Penalties are the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It's been a fantastic tournament – we should be proud, hold our heads up high. It's going to hurt now, it's going to hurt for a while.”


English Press pamper Three Lions

There is a lot one can learn by taking a look at the English Press. There's little criticism, more sympathy, and a lot of mollycoddling. Some of them are not mourning the Three Lions' loss in the final, but are celebrating Harry Kane and company as the “greatest team in England in 50 years”. That's quite obvious, because no English team had ever reached the final of the European Championship. Daily Star went to the extent of calling the England team "brave", while the BBC said “The England team can walk away with their heads held high. What an incredible effort. We are all proud.”


And now, the fans.

Hundreds who had gathered for hours in London's Trafalgar Square filed off dejectedly, broken glass from beer bottles crunching underfoot. In Newcastle, northern England, the crowd watching at a fan zone applauded the dejected team. "We have come so far, winning would have topped it all off," said 18-year-old student Millie Carson. "The team has brought the country together. Everyone has been loving life in these hard times."

But one fan expressed a widespread sense of frustration, shouting, "I cannot do this anymore."  On Sunday, queues formed outside pubs before opening time at noon as people sought a big screen and company for the evening match.

Some started the party too soon, and a minority caused drunken mayhem. Hours before the game, fans packed pubs, clubs and outdoor fan zones in towns and cities across England. Central London's Leicester Square became a sea of discarded food wrappers, plastic bags and beer bottles as hundreds of fans sang and partied; some threw bottles and set off flares.


Ticketless fans enter Wembley

Thousands of fans without tickets descended on Wembley Stadium, some scrambling up trees and traffic lights to fly the England flag. There were chaotic scenes as security staff and police scuffled with hundreds who tried to storm barriers and enter the stadium. Wembley officials initially insisted no one without tickets had got inside, but London's Metropolitan Police said a small number of ticketless fans had entered the 90,000-seat stadium, where capacity was supposed to be limited to a pandemic-restricted 67,000.

Bottles were thrown as fans left Wembley after the game, and police in riot gear stood by. Some fans in London's Trafalgar Square lashed out after the defeat by kicking fences, smashing bottles, overturning garbage bins and fighting with one another.

The Metropolitan Police said 45 people had been arrested across London throughout the day. England's Football Association condemned the abuse and called for the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

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