England v Italy: Match in pictures
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England legend Gary Neville has slammed Boris Johnson following the Three Lions’ defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday night. Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were all racially abused on social media after missing penalties in the shootout. And Neville believes things ‘start at the top’.
England went into the match against Italy looking to win a first major trophy since 1966.
But despite a valiant effort, it wasn’t to be as Roberto Mancini’s side claimed victory at Wembley – celebrating long into the night in the aftermath.
While it was victory for Italy, however, it was despair for England. And horrendous fans on social media have honed in on Saka, Rashford and Sancho – racially abusing the trio after they missed penalties in the shootout.
And Neville, speaking on Sky News, has now slammed the Prime Minister – believing he’s partly responsible for what happened.
“I am just reading your breaking news, it says the PM condemns the racist abuse of England players,” he said.
“Is that the same Prime Minister that a few weeks ago… Gareth Southgate and the players a few weeks ago, about five days on the trot, told us that they were taking the knee to promote equality and it was against racism.
“The Prime Minister said it was ok for the population of this country to boo those players who were trying to promote equality and defend against racism.
“It starts at the very top so for me I wasn’t surprised in the slightest to wake up to those headlines this morning.
“I expected it the minute those three players missed, missed.
“There is an issue in football, there is an issue in society where we feel it is acceptable to criticise players for sporting actions because of the colour of their skin.”
Following the defeat, Southgate chose to shoulder responsibility.
“It’s down to me,” Southgate said in the aftermath of the defeat, which robbed the Three Lions of glory.
”I decided on the penalty takers based on what we’ve done in training.
“Nobody is on their own. That’s my call and it totally rests on me.”
He added: “They were the best takers we had left on the pitch.
“We win and lose together.”
And captain Harry Kane, who converted his own effort in the shootout, also opened up.
“We will look back and look at things we could have done better. That is what we have to learn from,” Kane said.
“We have a big 18 months ahead of us. We have to get it out of our minds and focus on (the World Cup).
“I think for sure (it feels like) a missed opportunity. It’s not every day you get into finals, especially for the national team.
“The opportunity was there for us, we didn’t quite take it and that’s going to hurt for a very long time – but that’s football and we have to get over it and move on.
“We have to build belief from this, we have a great young squad. We have to dust ourselves down, hold our heads high and get ready for that tournament.”
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