England football soccer Euro 2020 penalty kicks premier league

Illustration by Reuben Dangoor @reubendangoor

Shadows loom over English football as Premier League season approaches

A look back at the fallout from the Euros ahead of kick-off on Friday.

Well it’s August and to tell the truth I can’t believe how much has happened in the world of football over the past month! At some point in July, I felt there was just too much football going on — I was in “football burnout.” However, as I write this column, I can’t wait for the new football season to start in England, with Premier League kick-off scheduled for Aug. 13.

Major tournaments wrapped up mid-July, but at the moment the Olympics are ongoing. The Women’s Canadian National team will be going for gold against Sweden on Friday!

Gold for Canada in women’s soccer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The Men’s National team lost to Mexico in the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup and have some re-tooling to do.

At the Euros, Italy was crowned European Champions in penalty shootouts. Argentina was victorious in COPA AMERICA vs. Brazil, with Leo Messi finally winning his big silverware.

Good timing on that as well, because after all the conversations during the year about Mr. Messi, signing a nice big contract at Barcelona means he’s not going anywhere. This is the result we all speculated about and came to expect as he talked about wanting out of the only club he has ever played for. (UPDATE: In the days following the publication of this article, THIS happened!)

This scenario echoes what we are experiencing now with the captain of England & Spurs’ Harry Kane, who is waiting for a way out of his current club and his current contract.

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspurs, Premier League


Amid the big tournaments and big moves, July was also a time when more and more people became disgusted with a segment of football fans around the world.

The Euros were decided in penalty kicks. England had waited 55 years to win some major Silverware (the last time being the World Cup in 1966). After the penalty kicks, the Azzurri were victorious in the tournament.

Once again, the worst of humankind reared its ugly head on full shameful display. The three professional English footballers who were involved with missing/or not scoring on their turn were bombarded with unapologetic racist abuse.

These kids stepped up to represent their nation and did everything they could to try and win.  Had they scored, they would’ve been celebrated as national heroes, but instead the pathetic racists who pretend to be football fans decided to spew venomous hate directed at the three players.

One of the young gents, Marcus Rashford, a ManU star and champion in his community over the past year and half, took the time to write an open letter, showcasing what he’s made of and opening up.

Marcus Rashford’s statement in full:

“I don’t even know where to start and I don’t even know how to put into words how I am feeling at this exact time.

“I’ve had a difficult season, I think that’s been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence. I’ve always backed myself for a penalty, but something didn’t feel quite right.

“During the long run-up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted. I felt as though I had let my team-mates down. I felt as if I’d let everyone down. A penalty was all I’d been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep, so why not that one?

“It’s been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there’s probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. 1 penalty. History. All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of gone differently.

“Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team-mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I’ve experienced and you’ve all played a role in that.

“A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine.

“I’ve grown into a sport where I expected to read things written about myself.

“Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch.

“I can take critique of my performance all day long, my penalty was not good enough, it should have gone in but I will never apologize for who I am and where I came from. I’ve felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of tens of thousands.

“I dreamt of days like this. The messages I’ve received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears. The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up.

“I’m Marcus Rashford, a 23-year-old black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that. For all the kind messages thank you. I’ll be back stronger. We’ll be back stronger.”



Montreal finally made it official and have been dropped from potentially hosting the 2026 World Cup. It’s an absolute shame and makes no sense in the long term. Any dollars that the province would’ve spent to make this happen would’ve been recouped during the tournament. Quebec said it wouldn’t fund the event, citing cost overruns that would have been difficult to justify to taxpayers. (I call BS.) But it is an election year and these are the casualties. Toronto and Edmonton remain in the running to host the North America-wide event.

“I don’t believe skill was, or ever will be, the result of coaches. It is a result of a love affair between the child and the ball.”

—Roy Maurice Keane

For the schedule and more information about Premier League football, please click here. This column originally appeared in the August 2021 issue of Cult MTL. Check out The 1st Half podcast (about soccer and football culture in Montreal and beyond) here.

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