Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Racist abuse targeting England players is ‘unforgivable’

Racist abuse targeting England players is ‘unforgivable’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
England’s coach Gareth Southgate giving and MD-1 official press conference at The Grove Hotel in Hertford on July 10, on the eve of their UEFA EURO 2020 final football match against Italy. AFP

Racist abuse targeting England players is ‘unforgivable’

Gareth Southgate has condemned the “unforgivable” racist abuse aimed at the three England players who missed penalties in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final defeat against Italy.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of sickening social media taunts in the aftermath of the 3-2 penalty shoot-out loss at Wembley.

While some people identifying as England fans used racial slurs in blaming the trio for the defeat, other offensive messages were accompanied by “Forza Italia” hashtags.

England’s players have made a strong stand against racism at the tournament, taking a knee before all their games including Sunday’s final.

“For some of them to be abused is unforgivable,” England boss Southgate said at a press conference on Monday.

“Some of it has come from abroad, we have been told this, but some of it is from this country.

“We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the national team stands for everybody. We felt the energy and positivity from the fans and I’m incredibly proud of that.”

Having infamously missed a crucial penalty in England’s Euro 96 semi-final shoot-out defeat against Germany, Southgate knows what it is like to endure taunts and jibes after such an agonising loss.

Many past and present England players, including David Beckham and Raheem Sterling, have been vilified by Three Lions fans after major tournament failures.

Southgate said ensuring his stars were supported after the penalty heartbreak was “top of his thinking”.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re there, and aligned with their club, and making sure that we look after those boys, absolutely,” he said.

Southgate’s decision to send on Rashford and Sancho in the final moments of extra-time, specifically so they could take penalties, has drawn criticism after the gamble backfired.

But he has mostly earned huge praise on and off the pitch since taking over as England boss in 2016.

‘Stomach has been ripped out’

After years of under-achievement for England, Southgate guided the team to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia before taking them to the brink of their first major title in 55 years at Euros 2020.

English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said during the tournament that he wanted to hand Southgate a new contract keeping him in the job until after the next European Championship in 2024.

The 50-year-old’s current deal is due to expire after next year’s World Cup in Qatar and while he wants a crack at winning the 2022 World Cup, he is not ready to commit any further than that.

“I don’t think now is an appropriate time to think about anything,” he said.

“We have got to qualify for Qatar but I need some time to go away and watch the game and reflect on the whole tournament. I need a rest.”

For now, Southgate will lick his wounds after the most painful moment of his managerial career.

“It’s not ultimately where we wanted to get to and when you’re so close, that’s even more painful,” he said. “Of course it feels like my stomach has been ripped out this morning.”

Once he comes to terms with the final failure, Southgate expects to feel far more positive about the future of a vibrant young team.

“We had seven in the starting team from Russia and that experience has been critical through the big matches in this tournament,” he said.

“So to add the young players in at the time we did, the cycle and the expectation of the group will know what’s needed to get to the level to win. That should be a process that stands us in good stead.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior