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Bukayo Saka hits out at social media platforms

Bukayo Saka hits out at social media platforms
© Reuters
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
JapanJapan124521
ChinaChina115824
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
AustraliaAustralia61916
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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