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UEFA charge the FA over England vs Italy fan chaos

The Football Association have been charged by UEFA over the crowd trouble that ensued outside Wembley Stadium before the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy on Sunday. 

UEFA have charged The FA with four separate counts as chaos marred the occasion at the national stadium. 

Fans forced their way into the stadium, clashed with each other and officials before England’s first-ever European Championship showdown. 

They also breached security cordons and charged into the perimeter area surrounding Wembley. 

UEFA have now opened proceedings for an investigation. 

A UEFA statement read: “Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA EURO 2020 final match between the national teams of Italy and England (1-1, Italy won 3-2 on penalties), played on 11 July at Wembley Stadium, London.

“Charges against The English Football Association:

• Invasion of the field of play by its supporters – Article 16(2)(a) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR)
• Throwing of objects by its supporters – Article 16(2)(b) DR
• Disturbance caused by its supporters during the national anthem – Article 16(2)(g) DR
• Lighting of a firework by its supporters – Article 16(2)(c) DR

“The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course.

 “Separately, and in accordance with Article 31(4) DR, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium.

“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”

The Metropolitan Police Federation said: “These people should be ashamed of themselves.

“They are not fans. They are thugs. We wish our injured colleagues well.”

Football Association chief executive, Mark Bullingham, telling BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “We will do a full review and we will work with the police to catch anyone involved and make sure we can prevent it ever happening again.

“Anyone caught will obviously be banned and have the right action taken against them.”

England lost following a penalty shootout defeat against Italy in their first major tournament final since 1966. 

Luke Shaw’s first international goal handed the Three Lions the lead in the second minute, prompting jubilant scenes around the country. 

However, Leonardo Bonucci equalised in the second half and the game advanced to a penalty shootout. 

Marcus Rashford struck the post while Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka had their attempts saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, leading to a crushing defeat.

All three players were racially abused on social media in the aftermath. 

Head coach Gareth Southgate has told supporters that they have a responsibility to act responsibly while cheering on the team. 

We can only set the example that we believe we should and represent the country in a way we feel we should when representing England.

“Everyone has to remember when they support the team that they are also representing England and they should represent what we stand for.

“The players have done that brilliantly and we can only continue to try to affect the things we can. We have had, I think, had a positive effect on lots of areas of society but we can’t affect everything.

“Other people have responsibilities in those areas. We’ve got to work collectively to improve those things.”

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FA release statement after England stars racially abused on social media after Italy loss

The Football Association have condemned racist social media content aimed at England players after the Three Lions were beaten by Italy in the Euro 2020 final. 

They have urged online platforms to do more to prevent hateful messages being posted, which has become an increasingly frequent occurence. 

Defender Luke Shaw put England on course for their first major tournament success since 1966 with an excellent half-volley inside two minutes. 

Italy struggled into the first half-time, only Federico Chiesa went close to testing Jordan Pickford with a long-range strike. 

However, they gained confidence in the second half and Leonardo Bonucci equalised after Pickford had tipped an effort onto the post. 

A goalless period of extra-time followed before a penalty shootout. 

Goalkeeper Pickford denied Andrea Belotti to hand England the advantage, but Marcus Rashord missed for the Three Lions. 

Jadon Sancho then had his attempt saved, only to be handed a reprieve when Pickford saved from Jorginho. 

Bukayo Saka had to score his effort to force sudden death but the teenager, who has been excellent at Euro 2020, saw his kick saved. 

Racist tweets and comments were directed at each of the three players who failed to score in the shootout. 

The FA have said that they will do all they can to support the players impacted by the abuse, but that social media companies should put stricter measures in place. 

A spokesperson for the governing body said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

“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.”

England enjoyed a wonderful run to the final of the tournament, their first major showpiece event since 1966. 

There were memorable victories over Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Denmark en route to the final.

Gareth Southgate will now prepare his squad for next year’s World Cup.

The tournament is being held in Qatar during the winter months.

England’s performance at Euro 2020 will make them one of the favourites to win the competition, which will be played over 56 years since they last won the World Cup in 1966.

Italy crowned European champions as England crash on penalties

Italy 1 — England 1 (after extra time)
Italy win 3-2 on penalties

Italy deserved it, even if the win came on penalties, the monkey on England’s back for decades now.

Playing away from home in the Euro 2020 final, the Azzurri outpassed England, conceded just one shot on target (Luke Shaw’s goal), and are now unbeaten in 34 matches, the longest such streak in their history.

This team is greater than the sum of its parts, but it contains several remarkable individuals: Juventus’s ancient central defending duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the twin midfield playmakers Jorginho and Marco Verratti and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, apparently complete at 22 and named player of the tournament.

Gareth Southgate’s England were outclassed but highly organised as ever, did well to hold a better side for two hours of play, and can congratulate themselves on their best performance in a tournament since 1966.

England’s captain Harry Kane told the BBC: “We should be extremely proud as a group of what we have achieved,” adding, “We progressed well from Russia and now is about continuing that.”

Southgate said that the players: “have been an absolute joy to work with and they have gone further than we’ve gone for so long. But, of course, tonight it is incredibly painful in that dressing room. You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life.”

This game followed the script of most of England’s big games of recent decades: take an early lead, then spend the rest of the game defending with their backs to the wall, finally succumb, and lose on penalties.

On two minutes they counter-attacked down the right and found Kieran Trippier, who had come into the team for this match in the place of winger Bukayo Saka. A Beckham-esque striker of the ball, Trippier lobbed a precise cross to his fellow full-back, unmarked at the far post. Shaw crowned an excellent tournament by smashing in an instant half-volley.

Italy’s Andrea Belotti lifts the trophy after the final of Euro 2020 © AP

Wembley had been waiting for this moment for 55 years. The stadium was heaving, but dangerously so. It looked a lot fuller than the official capacity of 60,000. People without tickets had breached security, and in some stands every seat looked occupied, and then some: many were standing. Others arrived before extra time, and by the end some gangways were dangerously packed, with few interventions from stewards.

At first, Shaw’s goal seemed to have set up the game England wanted: sit back, rely on their tight defence that had conceded just once before in this tournament, let Italy come at their massed ranks, then hope to counter through the pacy Raheem Sterling.

Their central defensive trio of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker as ever made hardly any mistakes. Keeper Jordan Pickford had recovered his nerves after losing them in the semi-final against Denmark.

Southgate always has a plan, and by and large his players stick to it. When England had the ball, they tried to bypass central midfield, Italy’s strongest spot, where the Azzurri had both a numerical advantage and the Jorginho-Verratti engine room.

England aimed to play from the back straight to Shaw and Trippier on the flanks or hit deep passes to the head of Kane. But Kane and especially Sterling scarcely got into the game, neutralised by Bonucci (deservedly named “star of the match”) and Chiellini.

England are not an aggressive pressing side, and fielding three centre-backs meant surrendering midfield.

From late in the first half, Italy’s passing moves forced the English to defend around their own penalty area, the zone where one slip can mean disaster.

Italy were the more skilled side on the ball — 90 per cent of their passes were accurate, versus just 78 per cent of England’s — but they also trusted themselves to pass more. If you give a team as good as Italy almost nonstop possession, and licence to advance almost unhindered to within 20 yards of your goal, they are likely to take advantage at some point.

It took until the 61st minute for the Azzurri to force Pickford into a decisive save, diving to his left to stop Federico Chiesa’s low shot. But the goal came six minutes later, the logical consequence of ever-deeper Italian territorial penetration. The scorer, improbably, was 34-year-old Bonucci. An Italian corner prompted a scramble in the penalty area. Pickford pushed Verratti’s header against the post, but the Juventus grandee tapped in the rebound.

Southgate should have intervened to change England’s tactics earlier, but did so only after the damage was done, sending on Saka for Trippier and going from a five-man to a four-man defence.

From then on, England did manage to keep the ball more often and further from their own danger area.

In extra time Italy’s menace diminished, with their chief creator Verratti and Chiesa having gone off injured. Southgate had sent on the wild-card young dribbler, Jack Grealish, and he danced around Italian defenders, serenaded by Wembley as “Super, Super Jack”.

Still, the stats told the story of who had dominated the 120 minutes of play: Italy had 62 per cent possession, completed 755 passes to England’s 341, and had six shots on target to England’s one. It’s a tribute to England’s defensive organisation that they managed to take this game to penalties.

Southgate’s England will have felt more confident about the shootout than any other recent national side. They had broken the country’s ancient penalty jinx by beating Colombia in the shootout at the World Cup in 2018, and few sides practice penalties more or perform more exhaustive data analysis of them.

Just before the end of extra time, Southgate had sent on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho specifically for their prowess at penalty-taking.

It was brave of them to line up. In the event, they were the first England players to miss, after Kane and Maguire had hit unstoppable kicks. Perhaps it’s too much to ask of young men to come into a game of such importance cold, and then almost immediately take the weightiest spot-kicks in English football history.

When Donnarumma saved from Saka, it was all over.

Italy hadn’t even qualified for the last World Cup, a low in their modern footballing history. This triumph crowned their thrilling reinvention as an attacking passing side under manager Roberto Mancini. Their 13 goals at Euro 2020 were the most the Azzurri have scored in a major tournament.

Italy will travel with confidence to the World Cup in Qatar next year. But England — still a relatively young side with potential to grow — have an outside shot, too.