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Racist abuse targets 3 English players who missed penalties in Euro soccer final

London police investigating ‘offensive and racist messages’ to players, while English Football Association says it’s appalled and will do everything to assist them

  • England's Marcus Rashford reacts after failing to score a penalty during a shootout at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Italy defeated England 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)
    England's Marcus Rashford reacts after failing to score a penalty during a shootout at the end of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Italy defeated England 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)
  • English players react during the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 soccer final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Laurence Griffiths/Pool via AP)
    English players react during the penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 soccer final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Laurence Griffiths/Pool via AP)
  • Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saves a penalty by England's Jadon Sancho during a penalty shootout at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP)
    Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saves a penalty by England's Jadon Sancho during a penalty shootout at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP)
  • England's Jadon Sancho reacts during a penalty shootout at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP)
    England's Jadon Sancho reacts during a penalty shootout at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP)
  • England's Kalvin Phillips, left, and Luke Shaw, right, comfort teammate Bukayo Saka after he failed to score a penalty during a penalty shootout after extra time at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)
    England's Kalvin Phillips, left, and Luke Shaw, right, comfort teammate Bukayo Saka after he failed to score a penalty during a penalty shootout after extra time at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON  — Three Black players who missed penalty kicks for England in the decisive European Championship shootout against Italy on Sunday night 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 on the England squad, missed the penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England its 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 its 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.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate embraces Bukayo Saka after he failed to score during a penalty shootout after extra time at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (Carl Recine/Pool Photo via AP)

“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.”

England’s Jadon Sancho reacts during a penalty shootout at the Euro 2020 soccer championship final between England and Italy at Wembley stadium in London, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (John Sibley/Pool Photo via AP)

London’s Metropolitan Police also said it was investigating “offensive and racist” messages on social media.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson castigated the abuse, saying “those responsible… should be ashamed of themselves.”

Rashford, who plays for Manchester United, noted the racial abuse he received on social media in May after the team lost the Europa League final.

England coach Gareth Southgate was criticized 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,” Southgate said. “We win and lose together.”

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