Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England | CARL RECINE

If the two Harrys - Kane and Maguire - had failed to convert their penalties, would they have been subjected to online abuse? Quite possibly, but there would have been a difference to that which Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka experienced. There was a sad but also appalling inevitability to racist abuse of these three players.

An inevitability facilitated by social media and a toothlessness displayed by operators except when it suits them to make high-profile examples (e.g. Trump). An inevitability because of the cowardice that comes with presumed anonymity and in saying things that would not be face to face. An inevitability because, despite all the campaigns, sheer ignorance and malevolence stubbornly prevail over education.

There is abuse because there is no compassion. Public figures like footballers have to expect criticisms. They invite criticism if they are so public on social media. But abuse is something else. It hurts to lose, it hurts the players to lose, it hurts them in particular if the challenge of the penalty spot goes wrong. Ask Gareth Southgate.

Rather than sympathising with this hurt, there is the lack of compassion, couched in racist terms and which is in fact an attack on the collective that is the England team in its diversity and its own compassion - taking the knee, supporting the NHS, seeking to ensure that families are fed.

When will it end? Will it end? I fear it won’t. Online in its various forms has bred and reinforced harassment, intimidation and the cowardice.