Bukayo Saka missed the decisive penalty of the shootout. At 19, the Arsenal footballer failed to score against Donnarumma. England lost the final to Italy and minutes later their social media profiles were full of racist insults. Like him, Rashford and Sancho, who also missed their pitches, received a multitude of messages. The defeat of the English team has been a disappointment for the country, but the immediate consequences have focused on the racism that still exists in society: “Abuse is a lousy thing. This England team deserve to be praised as heroes, not racially abused on social media, “said Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of England.
On Monday morning, the Football Federation of England issued a statement in defense of its players and placing the blame on social media companies for their failure to punish abusers: “Social media companies must step up and take responsibility and act to sanction all abusers on their platforms, giving guarantees that they can begin an investigation so that the platforms are free of this type of abuse. “
In the same way, Arsenal itself wanted to protect its youth squad, Saka, who for many years has worn the ‘Gunners’ shirt until he became one of the rising stars of the Premier League: “Bukayo has been with us since who is seven years old and the whole club could not be more proud that he represented England during the European Championship. However, the feeling of pride later changed due to the racist messages that our player received on social media after the final whistle. CWe condemn racism: this cannot continue and social networks and the authorities must act to eliminate these abuses. Our message to Bukayo is: keep your head high, we are very proud of you and we can’t wait for you to wear the Arsenal jersey again. “
The penalty shootout of the Eurocup final featured three players under 23 years of age: Rashford, Sancho and Saka, who missed their shots. All of them black. All of them, the object of racist messages. Gareth Southgate, the English coach, took on his responsibility when choosing the shooters: “The penalty shooters are my decision, they are totally my decision. I decided based on how the training had gone, but no one is alone. We win as a team and we lose as a team. “
Finally, José Mourinho also wanted to comment on this decision. The current Roma manager has been a regular commentator on the European Championship in the English media and appreciated Southgate’s decision, who preferred to remove Rashford and Sancho in the 119th minute only to shoot a penalty: “For Saka, having the weight of a country on her shoulders is too much for a boy her age. Although I don’t know if I should ask Southgate that question because many times the footballers who should be there are not. In this situation … where was Sterling? And Stones? And Shaw? “