Arsenal and Manchester United have thrown their support behind their distraught stars after Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford saw their penalties missed in the final of Euro 2020 and were then the subject of horrific racist abuse online.
England and Italy could not be separated over 120 minutes with the game finishing 1-1 and going to penalties and the Italians came out on top, winning 3-2 from 12 yards.
After Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored from the spot, Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Saka all missed, handing Italy the European Championship title.
The devastated England stars were bombarded with sickening racist abuse online after the game, so much so that the FA released a statement condemning the actions of those behind it.
Meanwhile Saka and Rashford’s clubs looked to lend their players some support during the extremely difficult time.
A tweet from the official Arsenal account read: ‘Football can be so cruel. But for your personality. For your character. For your bravery… We’ll always be proud of you.
‘And we can’t wait to have you back with us, Bukayo Saka.’
Manchester United posted: ‘One kick won’t define you as a player or person, Marcus. Remember that. We look forward to welcoming you home.’
Arsenal then released a full statement on Monday morning, which read: ‘Last night, we saw Bukayo Saka reach the Euro 2020 final at the age of 19 years old.
‘Bukayo has been with us since he was seven and the whole club couldn’t have been prouder to see him represent England throughout the tournament. You could feel it right across the club.
‘Last night we witnessed the leadership and character we’ve always known and loved in Bukayo. However, this feeling of pride quickly turned to sorrow at the racist comments our young player was subjected to on his social media platforms after the final whistle.
‘Once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism of a number black players. This cannot continue and the social media platforms and authorities must act to ensure this disgusting abuse to which our players are subjected on a daily basis stops now.
‘We have processes in place internally at Arsenal to ensure our players are supported both emotionally and practically on this issue but sadly there is only so much we can do.
‘Our message to Bukayo is: hold your head high, we are so very proud of you and we cannot wait to welcome you back home to Arsenal soon.’
In the face of the vile abuse aimed at the England stars, the FA wrote in a statement: ‘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. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.’
The official Twitter account for the England men’s and women’s national teams said in a statement: ‘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. We stand with our players.’
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