A mural dedicated to Marcus Rashford in Manchester was vandalised after his missed penalty contributed to England’s 3-2 shootout defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday.
The Manchester United forward was hailed for his work in campaigning for free school meals for the most vulnerable of children in British society.
A mural, a community street art project based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham and painted by street artist Akse, was made in his honour in Withington, Manchester, and read: “Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose.”
“It is a despicable, shameful act. And 99.9% of people will be utterly appalled by it and want the strongest action taken,” Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said of the incident.
Following Rashford’s penalty miss, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka also failed to score, allowing Italy to claim the trophy, and all three were the targets of racist abuse on social media.
“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,” an FA statement read.
“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.”
The England team also released a statement condemning the abuse, which read: “We’re disgusted that some of our squad — who have given everything for the shirt this summer — have been subjected to discriminatory abuse online after tonight’s game.”
England, who had reached their first major final since 1966, took the lead in the match through Luke Shaw’s early goal before Leonardo Bonucci equalised for Italy in the second half and the score remained 1-1 until the end of extra-time.