The tears of England’s losing players at Wembley were replicated across the nation on Sunday night, mixed in with disappointment and alcohol, after Italy beat Gareth Southgate’s young side in a penalty shootout to win Euro 2020.
After 15 months of intense COVID restrictions that at times left vast swathes of the country housebound, millions of England fans had packed into pub gardens, city squares and homes to watch their side contest a major final for the first time in 55 years.
It lost 3-2 on penalties after the match ended 1-1, leaving younger players who missed spot-kicks such as Bukayo Saka, 19, and Jadon Sancho, 21, sobbing on the shoulders and chests of their teammates.
Messages on social media appeared to show racist abuse being sent to Marcus Rashford, the other player who missed his spot-kick. There were also thousands of messages of support.
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