England should feel nothing but pride for our national football after their Euro 2020 triumphs. Yet, some “fans” seem determined to cast shame over the country, pummelling the young Lions stars with racist abuse online.

Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, all stepped up on Sunday night as the team’s final fate against Italy was left down to gut-wrenching penalties.

Devastatingly, it wasn’t meant to be.

The trophy didn’t end up “coming home” – as Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci tactfully pointed out – it went to Rome. But that doesn’t mean England doesn’t have an immense amount to be proud of in its bright and bold young squad.

However, rather than applaud their achievements, scores of supporters flooded Saka, Sancho and Rashford’s social media pages with despicable racist abuse. The Football Association, Boris Johnson and big names including Piers Morgan have all condemned their comments as utterly “disgusting” and “unacceptable”, with one minister saying whoever’s responsible “cannot claim to be true fans of the sport."

Here’s the full statement from the FA:

And from the Prime Minister:

Speaking to the media on Monday morning, manager Gareth Southgate branded the harassment “unforgivable” as he said his squad would “heal together now”.

He told reporters: “We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.

"We have shown the power our country has when it does come together and has that energy and positivity together. It’s my decision who takes the penalties, it’s not a case of players not volunteering or more experienced players backing out."

He added: "We heal together as a team now, and we are there for them, and I know that 99 per cent of the public will be as well.”

Meanwhile, countless celebrities, fans and MPs flocked to social media to offer their support to the brave and heroic players:

The official Twitter account for the England men’s and women’s national teams offered its unflagging support to the victimised players.

It 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.”

The Metropolitan Police also condemned the “unacceptable” abuse, adding it will be investigating the “offensive and racist” social media posts.

The force said in a statement:

And the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were at Wembley watching the match with their son George, posted:

Elsewhere, former England striker Alan Shearer shared his horror at the situation. He told BBC Breakfast on Monday: “What on earth are people thinking about to go online and abuse these players?

“What is wrong with these people? It is so ridiculous. Absolutely disgusting.

“An individual has to volunteer for a penalty and I have full admiration for the guys who were brave enough to stand up and take a penalty for England. It’s a horrible situation to be in.”

And London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on social media companies to do more to hold to account those responsible for sending online abuse.

He wrote on Twitter:

Facebook – which owns Instagram – has since responded to the issue, insisting it tries to remove harmful content as quickly as possible and encouraging people to use the tools it offers to block abuse.

“No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and we don’t want it on Instagram,” a Facebook company spokesperson said.

“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules.

“In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs.

“No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.”

Meanwhile, it emerged that a mural honouring Rashford had been vandalised in Manchester.

Graffiti appeared on the artwork, which is on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington, on Sunday night.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said they were alerted to the damage – which they described as “racially aggravated” – at about 2.50am on Monday.

No arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.

Chief Superintendent Paul Savill, of GMP’s City of Manchester division, said: “This is disgraceful behaviour and will absolutely not be tolerated.

“Greater Manchester prides itself on being made up from a number of diverse communities, and hate crime in any form is completely unacceptable and not welcome here in our city.

“GMP takes crimes of this nature very seriously and an investigation has been launched. If anyone has any information that could help us to identify this offender please do not hesitate to speak to police.”

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