England has come together to rally around its stars after a heartbreaking loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final — but one sight is irking commentators around the UK.
The Three Lions were beaten in the cruellest of circumstances in Monday morning’s penalty shootout at Wembley, but their performances throughout the tournament have left most of England’s former internationals brimming with pride.
Manager Gareth Southgate led his team to within a whisker of the country’s first major triumph since the 1966 World Cup and the Euro campaign has the country full of hope and dreams heading into the 2024 World Cup in Qatar.
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Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England applauds the fans after receiving his runners up medal.Source:Getty Images
However, it was easy to spot England players, including captain Harry Kane, removing their silver medals from around their necks before even walking off the stage during the medal ceremony.
While some of England’s biggest names, including Southgate, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire, were noticeable exceptions, most of England’s stars immediately removed their medals and carried them in their hands in an act some have interpreted as disrespectful to their opposition.
Harry Kane looks dejected after receiving his runners-up medal.Source:Getty Images
Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier of England look dejected after removing their medals.Source:Getty Images
In the eyes of some, the way the team conducted itself throughout the tournament doesn’t excuse the surprising act of disrespect during the medal ceremony.
While Italy was moments away from walking onto the podium to celebrate the country’s first Euro Championship since 1968, England’s stars walked through their own runners-up medal presentations completely dejected and heartbroken.
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Former England player Michael Bridges said on Optus sport: “I was a little bit upset at England players taking off their medals”.
Other commentators were much more scathing.
Almost every England player taking their loser’s medal back off the second it is on. Terrible, petulant look.
Really great performance by England throughout the Euros… shame the game went to penalties but surely you should take pride in second place? Some players just completely disregarding a silver medal? Sour sportsmanship #Euro2020Final
What’s all that about the England team players taking the medal off 🏅
Is it just me or did it feel like a complete disrespect by Team England, as they walked out removing the runners up medal (some didn’t even bother to wear it properly, while some removed it on the podium itself). Loss is tough, but a little respect for that honour, at least?
England’s pride in team fell agonisingly close
Kane admitted his side’s penalty shoot-out defeat in the Euro 2020 final against Italy was “the worst feeling in the world”.
His team’s heartbreak was met with beaming pride by England’s many TV football pundits.
“Heartbreaking. But this squad has a bright future and they’ve lifted the nation both on and off the pitch after a shocking year or so. Bring on the @FIFAWorldCup in Qatar,” England legend Michael Owen posted on Twitter.
England international Shaun Wright-Phillips also posted: “I’m as gutted as everyone! I’m so proud to have played for @England and to now be a fan we must be proud of our country for reaching the final!”
Their reactions summed up the mood across English football, with the traditional feeding frenzy that follows England’s exit from a major tournament parked to the side for now.
“Damn. Absolutely over the moon proud of what this @England squad have achieved under Gareth Southgate and hopefully we can take it one step closer next year,” Chelsea great Jermaine Beckford wrote on Twitter.
England’s midfielder Declan Rice reacts to the loss.Source:AFP
England’s forward Jadon Sancho reacts after missing his penalty.Source:AFP
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand told the BBC: “Obviously, huge disappointment. But as you can see the fans clapping the players. They have brought us a joy, that definitely my generation and below have never felt watching an England team.
“They lifted the country up when we needed it. It’s a harsh, harsh game when it gets to this stage. It’s a painful way to lose it.”
Along with Harry Maguire, Kane was one of only two England players to score from the spot as Italy won the shoot-out 3-2 after a 1-1 draw following extra time at Wembley.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed their penalties, leaving England to rue a wasted opportunity to win their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
“Penalties is the worst feeling in the world when you lose,” Kane told ITV.
“Anyone can miss a penalty. Penalties is penalties. We went through a process. The boys did everything they could, it just wasn’t our night.”
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