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The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned those who have directed racist abuse at members of the England football team following their agonising defeat to Italy in last night's Euro 2020 final.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka have all been the recipients of horrific racist abuse online after they missed their spot-kicks during the penalty shootout, meaning England's 55-year wait for a major trophy goes on.
Johnson - who was seen in the crowd at Wembley Stadium - tweeted: "This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.
"Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves."
The racist abuse suffered by the players - whilst nothing new for England's representatives - has also been slammed by the English football governing body, the Football Association.
In a statement, the FA said: "We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,
"We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
"We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
"Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse."
Despite the abuse from a minority, many fans used their online presence to attempt to drown out the racist comments with positivity, after England reached the final of a men's major tournament for the first time since 1966.
Though it ultimately ended in defeat, there is much to admire about Gareth Southgate's young side, and much to be optimistic about as the World Cup in Qatar next year approaches.
One fan wrote: "Can we remember... Marcus Rashford is 23, raised £200m for kids to eat last year.
"Jadon Sancho is 21, opened up new football pitches for those in the suburbs of London.
"Bukayo Saka is 19, a voice for the youth of football today & helping local communities."
Another said: "England should protect these young boys Saka, Rashford and Sancho from racial discrimination at all cost if they ever dream of winning a trophy in future. Let's fight racism."
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