Sancho says racist abuse is ‘nothing new’ but insists: Hate will never win
The England winger was introduced in the final moments of extra time against Italy on Sunday with the game level at 1-1.
Sancho and fellow substitute Marcus Rashford were seemingly introduced with a shoot-out in mind and both were included among England’s first five takers.
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But after Rashford hit the post with the third kick, cancelling out the Three Lions’ early advantage, Sancho’s spot-kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The Italy goalkeeper also denied Bukayo Saka to complete a 3-2 Azzurri win and condemn England to another shoot-out failure – their seventh in nine attempts at major tournaments.
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Racist abuse was directed at the three England players on social media in the aftermath, prompting a strong reaction from their team-mates, Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.
Rashford addressed the support he received from fans after a mural depicting the Manchester United forward, which was vandalised after the match, was covered in messages from well-wishers.
Sancho – reported to be undergoing a medical at United after a move from Borussia Dortmund was agreed – and Saka had not posted publicly until Wednesday, however.
Unlike Rashford, who acknowledged “something didn’t feel quite right”, Sancho said he felt confident from 12 yards. He has scored all three attempts for Dortmund (excluding shoot-outs).
But the 21-year-old sought to address what went wrong in a lengthy Instagram post and then turned his attention to the vile abuse.
“I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday’s final and still feel a mix of emotions,” Sancho wrote.
Euro 2020: England’s Rashford defiant after racist abuse
“I would like to say sorry to all my team-mates, coaching staff and most of all the fans who I let down. This is by far the worst feeling I’ve felt in my career.
“It’s hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.
“My first thought before going into any football match is always: ‘How can I help my team? How am I going to assist? How am I going to score? How am I going to create chances?’
“And that’s exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team.
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“I was ready and confident to take it, these are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer.
“I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practiced them countless times for both club and country, so I picked my corner but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.
“We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.
“This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I’ve been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.
“I’m not going pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new.
“As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.
“Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.
“I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.
“Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward.
“I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative.
“It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger! Stay safe and see you soon.”
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