Bukayo Saka Redeems Penalty-Shootout Moment at Euro 2024, Three Years After Enduring Racial Abuse

Bukayo Saka dropped to his knees near the center spot and looked to the sky.

The rest of England's players had sprinted toward the goal to celebrate with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Pickford, the team's two headline-grabbers from the penalty shootout win over Switzerland in the European Championship quarterfinal on Saturday.

Saka was alone, happy to savor a measure of redemption.

His was the decisive penalty in the Euro final in 2021 that was saved to seal the title for Italy at Wembley Stadium.

Saka and fellow Black players Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who also failed with their spot kicks in that shootout, then received horrific racial abuse on social media as a result.

Saka was 19 at the time, the youngest player in a multi-ethnic England squad that won the hearts of the soccer-mad nation — before the loss to Italy, anyway.

Three years later and there was Saka again, making that long and lonely walk from the center circle to the penalty spot to take England's third kick of the shootout against Switzerland.

This time, he found the bottom corner of the net, and cupped his ears in celebration, as England went on to win 5-3 in the shootout after a 1-1 draw that had seen Saka score the equalizer in the 80th minute.

Last updated on July 11th, 2024 at 12:02 am

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