England‘s World Cup ambitions ended in familiar sights of tears and broken aspirations as the curse of missed penalties came to haunt them.
After going a goal down, the Three Lions were brought back into the game via a Harry Kane penalty.
They again had to chase the game when Giroud put France ahead. 2-1.
England blew a fantastic opportunity to tie the game again in the 84th minute. Harry Kane took his second penalty attempt, but this time he blasted it well above the crossbar.
England dominated possession throughout the contest. They had far more passes, crosses, and shots than France did. But that didn’t matter. Until now, no defending world champion has advanced past the quarterfinals in this century.
Unfortunately, Kane and co. were not able to change that, going out of a major tournament again by virtue of a missed penalty.
The last time this had happened, social media reactions turned ugly against the coloured personnel of the squad, specifically Saka and Rashford.
With Kane missing the penalty this time around, there is a well-founded fear that he would be subject to this horrendous assault.
According to an Alan Turing Institute study for The Guardian, Harry Kane was the most criticized England player on Twitter throughout the World Cup group stages.
The striker got tagged in 426 abusive messages out of a sum of 1546 hostile tweets, according to the research.
Hannah Kirk, the researcher, said that Harry Kane would face a bigger brunt of the abuse that the English team would inevitably receive. She said that he would have to bear the weight of the team.
This, however, has not really been the case. While the striker has faced flak, he also received support from certain factions.
The treatment given to his teammates, on the other hand, is starkly different. Dare we say, it may or may not have something to do with their ethnicity?
Some fans went to the Instagram pages of both Kane and Saka to see what the outcome of Kane’s penalty miss was. What they found was saddening, but not surprising.
Kane was indeed getting the support he needed. People were saying how 2026 is the aim now, and how he should keep his head up.
Saka, on the other hand, was getting a barrage of Gorilla emojis, which translates to racists calling him a monkey.
Others asked him to go back to his “home” country, conveniently ignoring the fact that he was born and brought up in England.
What is shocking to see is that this is happening after Saka was one of the best players that England had all tournament. He finished the World Cup with an average rating of 7.7, the highest of all English players, and was followed by Harry Kane who had 7.6.
He was also England’s highest goal scorer with 3 goals, alongside Marcus Rashford, another player that the English so easily threw slurs at.
It is good to see that not all fans are ignorant enough to follow the same boat of abuse. A lot of users and celebrities brought attention to Saka’s incredible tournament and especially how he outperformed Mbappe.
What we must not do now, is blame Harry Kane the same way they did Saka and Rashford. Racism or not, abuse is needless and just makes matters worse.
Tweets like these miss the whole point about why abuse is bad. Eliminating racism does not mean bringing down the other race, it means bringing up the ones who are put down.
Aside from verbal abuse directed at players, domestic violence is a significant issue that must be addressed. The National Centre for Domestic Violence published disturbing numbers last year that revealed the awful fact that cases of domestic abuse spike after England games.
Data reveal that if England loses, recorded incidents rise by 38%, and by 11% the following day, irrespective of the outcome.
Whether it is racism, verbal abuse, or domestic abuse – nothing is excusable or justified. The footballing community must change.