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In an emotional first post since Sunday night’s shootout to defeat to Italy, in which Sancho was one of three England players to miss his spot-kick, the winger said he’d been hit by “the worst feeling I’ve felt in a long time” after being brought on in the final moments of extra-time to take a penalty.
However, the 21-year-old also spoke of his pride in the “unmatched” togetherness of Gareth Southgate’s squad, calling it “a real family on and off the pitch”.
“I’ve had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday’s final and still feel a mix of emotions,” Sancho wrote on Instagram. “I would like to say sorry to all my teammates, coaching staff and most of all the fans who I let down. This is by far the worst feeling I’ve felt in a long time, It’s hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.
“I was ready and confident to take [the penalty], these are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer. I’ve scored penalties before at club level, I’ve practiced them countless times for both club and country so I picked my corner but it just wasn’t meant to be this time.
“We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.
“This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I’ve been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.”
Following the defeat, Sancho and teammates Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka - who also missed their penalties - were targeted by racist abuse on social media.
The abuse has been widely condemned, with England supporters and players alike rallying around the trio, and Sancho thanked fans for their positive messages.
“I’m not going pretend that I didn’t see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it’s nothing new,” he added. “As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.
“Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream. I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.
“Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward. I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative. It’s been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we’ll be back even stronger! Stay safe & see you soon.”