LONDON - England manager Gareth Southgate comdemned as "unforgivable"' the racial abuse targeting his three players who missed penalties in Sunday's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were the victims of a stream of abuse on Twitter and Instagram following the 3-2 shoot-out loss at Wembley.
While some people identifying as England fans used racial slurs in blaming the trio for the defeat, other offensive messages were accompanied with "forza italia" hashtags.
England's players have made a strong stand against racism at the tournament, taking a knee before their games including Sunday's final.
"For some of them to be abused is unforgivable," Southgate said at a press conference on Monday.
"Some of it has come from abroad, we have been told this, but some of it is from this country.
"We have been a beacon of light to bring people together and the national team stands for everybody.
"We felt the energy and positivity from the fans and I'm incredibly proud of that."
Southgate has earned huge praise for his actions on and off the pitch since he took the job on in 2016 after Sam Allardyce had been forced to resign.
On it he has guided England after years of under-achievement to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and to a heartbreaking loss in the Euro final after the game ended 1-1.
However, his decision to send on Rashford and Sancho as extra-time neared its end so they could take penalties has been questioned.
Off it he has been credited for putting together a team that England fans can love after years of not doing so when the so-called 'golden generation' like David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard were in their prime.
The overwhelming desire, though, is for Southgate to sign a new contract.
He is expected to sign a new deal as England manager after the tournament to stay until the next Euros in 2024.
His current £3.5 million-a-year deal is due to expire after next year's World Cup in Qatar.
However, on Monday whilst saying he wanted to stay on till the World Cup he would not commit to whether he would sign a new contract.
"I don't think now is an appropriate time to be thinking about it," he said.
"We have to qualify for Qatar. I need time to go away and reflect on Euro 2020. I need a rest.
"To lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll.
"I don't want to commit to anything longer than I should.
"It's not a financial thing. As I sit here today. I would be wanting to take the team to Qatar."