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Racist abuse of England players is ‘unforgivable’, says Southgate

London (AFP) – Gareth Southgate has condemned the “unforgivable” racist abuse aimed at the three England players who missed penalties in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of sickening social media taunts in the aftermath of the 3-2 penalty shoot-out loss at Wembley.

While some people identifying as England fans used racial slurs in blaming the trio for the defeat, other offensive messages were accompanied by “Forza Italia” hashtags.

England’s players have made a strong stand against racism at the tournament, taking a knee before all their games including Sunday’s final.

“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable,” England boss Southgate said at a press conference on Monday.

“Some of it has come from abroad, we have been told this, but some of it is from this country.

“We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the national team stands for everybody. We felt the energy and positivity from the fans and I’m incredibly proud of that.”

Having infamously missed a crucial penalty in England’s Euro 96 semi-final shoot-out defeat against Germany, Southgate knows what it is like to endure taunts and jibes after such an agonising loss.

Many past and present England players, including David Beckham and Raheem Sterling, have been vilified by Three Lions fans after major tournament failures.

Southgate said ensuring his stars were supported after the penalty heartbreak was “top of his thinking”.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re there, and aligned with their club, and making sure that we look after those boys, absolutely,” he said.

Southgate’s decision to send on Rashford and Sancho in the final moments of extra-time, specifically so they could take penalties, has drawn criticism after the gamble backfired.

But he has mostly earned huge praise on and off the pitch since taking over as England boss in 2016.

– ‘Stomach has been ripped out’-

After years of under-achievement for England, Southgate guided the team to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia before taking them to the brink of their first major title in 55 years at Euros 2020.

English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said during the tournament that he wanted to hand Southgate a new contract keeping him in the job until after the next European Championship in 2024.

The 50-year-old’s current deal is due to expire after next year’s World Cup in Qatar and while he wants a crack at winning the 2022 World Cup, he is not ready to commit any further than that.

“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything,” he said.

“We have got to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away and watch the game and reflect on the whole tournament. I need a rest.”

For now, Southgate will lick his wounds after the most painful moment of his managerial career.

“It’s not ultimately where we wanted to get to and when you’re so close, that’s even more painful,” he said. “Of course it feels like my stomach has been ripped out this morning.”

Once he comes to terms with the final failure, Southgate expects to feel far more positive about the future of a vibrant young team

“We had seven in the starting team from Russia and that experience has been critical through the big matches in this tournament,” he said.

“So to add the young players in at the time we did, the cycle and the expectation of the group will know what’s needed to get to the level to win. That should be a process that stands us in good stead.”

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  1. El jefe

    July 12, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    People need to get off social media. There is absolutely no reason to have it for anyone. You open yourself up to the worst of the worst trolls and despicable racist behavior.

    Im glad Italy won, but something needs to be done about PK’s. I’ve been a fan of this sport for decades and I’ve always thought PK’s to decide matches and championships are the absolute strangest way of any sport to decide a winner. I like Jason’s idea of maybe taking players of the field in ET. Maybe even do something like have 10 v 8 in the first half of ET and then switch 8 v 10 in the second half of ET. or something like that.

    Yes, BLM is a marxist organization. Thats not right wing conspiracy that’s straight from the organizer’s mouths. Here in the states BLM runs in lock step with antifa which is largely a violent anarcho communist terrorist organization with chapters in many Cities. Which is why I think a lot of people are skeptical of the whole knee thing. Is it truly an anti racist gesture or is it some sort of submission ritual to these far left political organizations??

  2. jason

    July 12, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    @Ra One of Satan’s greatest tricks has to get people to believe he is not real.

    However you are right about Southgate’s poor picks for penalty takers. No doubt Prince William should have gone 5th.

  3. Ra

    July 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Marxist? Give me a break. Marxism is dead.
    Southgate is to blame. Saka is not even considered of drinking age in the US. Can you imagine having all the weight of England’s long and brilliant tradition of disappointment at the age of 19, just into the field, in your first kick? And then having to face hooligan’s racist tradition? No, thanks. Southgate should have picked FA’s president to kick the damn penalty.

  4. jason

    July 12, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    “Bending the knee” has replaced the Crucifux as a form of worship now. So it was a horrible thing to do. BLM as an organization is indeed very marxist in its ideology. In completly unrelated notes two other facts are
    1. The reaction in by racists in social media using this to go after the England players who missed penalities is horrible and disgusting. ‘
    2. Rashford’s penalty miss was the worst of all of them.
    3. Can’t there be a better way to settle ties? I’d say extra time you should drop two players which will open the field up. Think NHL going 3 on 3 in overtime. Using this perhaps the frequence games to go penalities will decrease.

  5. Ra

    July 12, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Bending the knee is terrorism?? I don’t know on what drugs you are on but you should stop taking them.

  6. Soccer Watcher

    July 12, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Actually bending the knee is not justified. They are in support of terrorism when they do this. Because of this, I’m glad England lost.

    England started off by bending the knee to support the BLM terrorist movement. Then, word started to get out about BLM’s already known radical objectives.

    And then in a marketing ploy, they “changed” the message saying bending the knee was about racism and has quietly drifted away from much of the BLM association.

    So now, you can’t criticize any black player on the England team and by doing so, one is racist.

    Disgusting what this World has come to.

    If you’re good enough to apparently play on the World stage, you need to be strong enough to take the good and bad that comes with it.

  7. Yespage

    July 12, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Ironic as, racist jeers at multi-racial players proves bending the knee against racism is justified.

    It is incredible that race is still an issue this deep in to the 21st Century. Some people coddle to racism like a child does to a stuffed animal.

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