Gareth Southgate has condemned the “unforgivable” racist abuse of three England players who lost their penalties in Sunday’s final defeat at the 2020 European Championships in Italy. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of social media riots as a result of Wembley’s 3-2 penalty. While some who identified themselves as fans of England used racism to blame the trio for the failure, along with other offensive messages appeared the labels “Forza Italia”. The England players have had a strong anti-racism stance in the tournament, getting on their knees before the start of every match including Sunday’s final.
“It is unforgivable that some of them are being abused,” England’s Southgate said in a press conference on Monday.
“Some have come from abroad, they have told us this, but others are from this country.
“We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the team is on everyone’s side. We have felt the energy and positivity of the fans and I am incredibly proud of them.”
After failing in England’s decisive penalty in the semi-finals of the 96th Euro against Germany, Southgate knows what it is like to suffer misfortune and show signs after that serious loss.
Many of England’s past and present players, including David Beckham and Raheem Sterling, have been rejected by three Lions fans after major league defeats.
Southgate said Heartbreak was “in his head” to ensure his stars were accepted after being punished.
“We need to make sure we’re there, and that we join their club and take full care of those guys,” he said.
Southgate’s decision to send Rashford and Sancho long last-minute moments, specifically to take penalties, has sparked criticism after Gamble stepped back.
But most of all he has won tremendous praise on and off the field since taking over as England’s leader in 2016.
After a few years of achievements for England, Southgate led the team to the finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they won for the first time in 55 years at the 2020 European Championships for the first time.
Mark Bullingham, general manager of the Football Association of England, said at the tournament that Southgate wanted to give him a new contract until the end of the next European Championship in 2024.
The 50-year-old deal will expire next year after the Qatar World Cup and although he wants success in winning the 2022 World Cup, there is no commitment to do so.
“I don’t think it’s the right time to think about anything,” he said.
“We need to get to qualify for Qatar, but I need some time to go and watch the match and reflect on the whole tournament. I need a break.”
For now, Southgate will lick his wounds after the most painful moment of his managerial career.
“In the end it’s not where we wanted to get to and when you’re so close, that’s even more painful,” he said. “Of course, it looks like my belly was ripped off this morning.”
Once the final defeat is agreed, Southgate hopes to feel much more positive about the future of the lively young team
“We had seven in the Russian starting line-up and that experience has been critical in the big games in this tournament,” he said.
“So at the time we did it to add young players, they will know the cycles and the team’s hopes for what it takes to get to the level of winning. That should be a process that keeps us going well.”
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