While the final between England and Italy was a thrilling watch, as was the entire competition, some avoidable incidents after the match somewhat marred the tournament’s success.
Over 67,000 spectators attended the final at Wembley Stadium on July 11. With the match being held at Wembley, the majority of those supporters were England loyalists. It was not only the highest attended football game in England since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also marked England’s first-ever appearance in a European Championship final.
An early goal by Luke Shaw in the second minute of the match gave England the lead, but Italy found the equaliser in the 67th minute, thanks to Leonardo Bonucci’s goal. The two teams couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes, as the game eventually headed to penalties. In the penalty shootout, Italy defeated England 3-2 to lift the title for the second time in their history.
It also sparked riots, both inside and outside the stadium, as one section of the English fans were left bewildered. Many videos doing rounds on social media showed that a few groups of English fans, visibly disappointed with their team’s defeat, went on to beat the travelling Italian supporters.
This incident has been criticised heavily and unanimously by the football fraternity, with many asking UEFA, the European football governing body, to impose a punishment on England.
UEFA subsequently announced that they will investigate the incident, and now, the Football Association has also launched an investigation
“We are determined to fully understand what happened outside and then inside Wembley Stadium at the UEFA Euro 2020 final on Sunday 11 July,”
“We informed DCMS at the weekend that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned to report on the facts and circumstances involved. It will speak to all parties concerned and include external experts. A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated.,”the FA said in a statement, as per quotes in Associated Press.
Wembley incident brought shame to England: former Met chief
The riots at Wembley Stadium have been criticised widely by many English authorities. Andy Trotter, a retired chief of Metropolitan Police, has said that the incidents have brought shame to the nation.
“It was disgusting behaviour by fans and it does bring shame on our country. I think just to pin it on the police is a bit simplistic because quite clearly there were failings everywhere. I’m not trying to defend anyone here because it was an awful, awful event and a real stain on our country’s reputation.”he said, speaking to Times Radio.
According to the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit, there were 264 arrests made within 24 hours of the final, which highlights the magnitude of the incident. They have also stated that throughout the tournament, there have been a total of 630 arrests owing to football-related reasons.
This has not been the only incident the English authorities had to deal with as few of the English players also had to be at the receiving end of racial abuse. A mural for Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka was vandalised with racist graffiti.