The exhilarating Euro 2020 came to an end on 12 July 2021, but we find that it is still a significant talking point weeks later and not necessarily for a good cause. The match ended in tears of joy for the Italians and tears of misery for the English fans present at the Wembley stadium, and things escalated pretty fast. Several incidents occurred before and after the match, resulting in negative consequences which have left a bitter taste in many mouths.
England forfeit Euro 2020 final, leaving fans in shambles
England played some spectacular football this season, but they were no match for the blue-clad Italian squad, who had a different type of force about them. The final was a tense affair that eventually led to a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes, both teams refusing to lose against each other. The extra 30 minutes for the penalty kicks would be the decider. Gianluigi Donnarumma, a twenty-two-year-old goalkeeper, made two fantastic saves while another English attempt hit the post, resulting in a 3-2 shootout. The Italian squad managed to redeem themselves for missing the World Cup in 2018 and extended the English misery in doing so.
Donnarumma managed to save attempts by 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rushford. Around 60,000 fans in attendance at Wembley witnessed the Three Lions’ defeat firsthand, and the reactions were disappointing, to say the least.
Harsh racist comments directed towards Saka, Rashford and Sancho after penalty misses
Soon after the public witnessed the penalty misses, Saka, Rashford and Sancho became the punching bags for many frustrated and racist fans. England manager Gareth Southgate claimed the racist abuse directed at the trio was “unforgivable”. The players were targeted on social media, with thousands of fans leaving insulting comments under pictures and ridiculing them for missing the penalties.
However, several prominent figures such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister Boris Johnson strictly condemned the racist abuse. Furthermore, the FA implored the government to act quickly and claimed the social media companies need to act on such abuse circulating online.
Many also criticised Gareth Southgate’s decision to allow the young trio to take the decisive penalty shots as other experienced players were present. Although Bukayo Saka had never taken a penalty for his club side Arsenal, he was given the responsibility for such a crucial kick in the shoot out.
Tottenham Hotspur’s star striker Harry Kane, who also appears in Sportingbet’s list of Europe’s Deadliest Strikers, was reportedly devastated after the saves by Donnarumma. Kane and Maguire managed to score two penalty kicks, but the three missed ones decided their fate for the match. However, he applauded his team nonetheless and claimed: “it just wasn’t their night”.
Ticketless fans storm Wembley stadium and overwhelm perimeter security, 19 officers injured
Hundreds of ticketless fans stormed Wembley last Sunday in attempts to witness the match firsthand but caused stress and injuries for security and the public alike. A former Metropolitan Police chief has defended officers following ugly scenes at Wembley at the Euro 2020 final, but said the incident was “a stain on our country’s reputation”.
“I think just to pin it on the police is a bit simplistic because quite clearly there were failings everywhere. (But) I’m not trying to defend anyone here because it was an awful, awful event and a real stain on our country’s reputation.”
Mr Trotter said features of the game, such as the 8 pm kick-off time on a Sunday, had allowed fans to drink all day and become “insensible”.
“Most football matches go ahead with a degree of drunkenness… but alcohol is a major, major problem,” he said.
Acts of violence broke out as fans fought each other while others hurled racist abuse at any person of colour. The Met Police’s deputy assistant commissioner also condemned the behaviour of “disorderly and violent” fans “who attempted to hijack the final”.