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Bukayo Saka hits out at social media platforms

Bukayo Saka hits out at social media platforms
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Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were also targeted after missing from the spot.

Bukayo Saka has challenged social media platforms to step up their efforts to tackle racism after falling victim to online abuse in the wake of England's Euro 2020 final heartache.

It was the 19-year-old Arsenal midfielder's penalty miss which sealed a 3-2 shoot-out defeat by Italy at Wembley on Sunday evening after the sides had found themselves locked together at 1-1 following extra time.

Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who also failed to score, were later targeted on social media, prompting a national outcry over their treatment.

In a post on his official Twitter account on Thursday, Saka wrote: "For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well, I'm so thankful.

"This is what football should be about, passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football.

"To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I don't want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me Marcus and Jadon have received this week.

"I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

"There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.

"Love always wins."

Saka, one of the emerging stars of Gareth Southgate's side, started three of England's games including the 2-0 last-16 win over Germany and the semi-final victory against Denmark, and came on as a second-half substitute in the final.

It fell to him to take the fifth spot-kick after Rashford had hit the post with his attempt and Sancho had seen his saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, but he too was denied by the Italy goalkeeper.

Bukayo Saka made four appearances for Gareth Southgate's side in the finals
Bukayo Saka made four appearances for Gareth Southgate's side in the finals (Mike Egerton/PA)

Saka added: "I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks. This message won't do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me.

"It was an honour to be part of an England squad that leads by example. They are brothers for life and I'm grateful for everything that I have learnt from every one of the players and staff who worked so hard.

"To help that team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the crowd, knowing what they've given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.

"There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you.

"I'm sorry that we couldn't bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we've got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.

"My reaction post-match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I'd let you all and my England family down. But I can promise you this: I will not let that moment or the negativity that I've received this week break me."

Saka's post received a swift response from England's official Twitter feed.

It read: "You should be incredibly proud of the role you played in our incredible journey this summer, Bukayo. Sunday will not define you, there's so much more to come. Keep your head held high."

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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