Boris Johnson‘s plans for an August Bank Holiday to celebrate an historic English victory are officially scrapped after the national team’s heartbreaking loss to Italy in the final minutes of the European Championship.
As Brits looked forward to the Three Lions clinching their first football title in decades, Mr. Johnson joined the jubilation by promising a four-day weekend this summer if the team wins.
There was a possibility the Bank Holiday weekend would go on as planned – until the prime minister’s office announced otherwise on Monday afternoon.
A spokesperson for Mr. Johnson said Downing Street would be talking to the Football Association ‘to identify a suitable way for the prime minister to thank the players and coaching staff for their efforts.’
‘A Bank Holiday is not something that is being considered,’ they added.
Mr. Johnson’s office ruled out the possibility of an August Bank Holiday planned in honour of England’s victory going on despite their devastating defeat
Health Minister Edward Argar was asked about whether the Bank Holiday would still be called in a television interview Monday morning.
He told Sky News it is a ‘decision for my boss.’
England coach Gareth Southgate may still be honored with a knighthood, however, despite his team’s loss.
More than 30 million people watched on television Sunday as 19-year-old Bukayo Saka missed the final penalty at Wembley Stadium, handing the Euro title to Italy.
Health Minister Edward Argar refused to comment on whether the Bank Holiday would still be called in a television interview Monday morning, telling Sky News it is a ‘decision for my boss’
Mr. Southgate would have been virtually guaranteed a knighthood if the Three Lions managed to clinch their first-ever Euro win. The honour was awarded to Alf Ramsey for leading the country’s victorious 1966 World Cup team to their last football title.
Health Minister Edward Argar hinted that Mr. Southgate will still be honoured for his historic effort leading the country to its first Euro final.
‘I, like the rest of the nation, share in the pride in our amazing football team and I’m sure there will be many ways in which we say thank you to them and recognise that, and I suspect that will be looked at in the coming days,’ he told LBC radio.
Mr. Southgate lauded his team’s performance in a press conference this morning, stating they should be ‘incredibly proud of what they’ve done’
Mr. Southgate lauded his team’s performance in a press conference this morning.
‘The players have had an incredible togetherness and spirit, which I think has brought so many parts of our country together and they should be – and I think they are – incredibly proud of what they’ve done,’ he told reporters.
He also condemned the abuse hurled against some players including young Mr. Saka, who is black, after he became a target of racial insults after his final penalty.
He also condemned the abuse hurled against some players including young Mr. Saka, who is black, after he became a target of racial insults after his final penalty
He declined to shed any light on his next career move, stating that he needs ‘time to go away’ to rest and reflect on the match.
Boris Johnson strongly indicated he would put the English coach and former player forward for an honor days before the match, telling broadcasters ‘I obviously wouldn’t want to anticipate anything that the honours people may decide,’ before adding Mr. Southgate ‘has done an absolutely outstanding job.’
Mr. Johnson is expected to weigh in soon, but it’s unlikely that the extra leisure days would coincide with the prime minister’s July 19 ‘Freedom Day’ when pandemic restrictions are lifted, according to The Times.
Mr. Argar said the country was still ‘on target’ to meet requirements for lifting restrictions by their deadline.
‘That was a heartbreaking result to end #Euro2020 but Gareth Southgate and his squad played like heroes. They have done the nation proud and deserve great credit,’ the prime minister tweeted after the match.
He also told angry fans they should be ‘ashamed of themselves’ after many hurled racial insults at Mr. Saka on social media post-match.
Mr. Johnson called the defeat a ‘heartbreaking result’ but praised England’s coach and players as ‘heroes’
He also condemned racist attacks hurled against Bukayo Saka, 19, who missed the final penalty kick of the match
Prince William also praised the team from the Kensington Royal Twitter account, encouraging the players to ‘hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves.’
He also congratulated the Italians on ‘a great victory.’
Mr. Johnson and the Duke of Cambridge were joined by their wives and 65,000 fans at Wembley Stadium who cheered when Luke Shaw scored a goal just minutes into the match.
The Duke of Cambridge, who also attended the final, praised both the English players and Italy’s team
Outside of Wembley passionate fans breached security and entered the stadium without tickets, and police struggled to control crowds in central London
Italian fans celebrated in Rome after their team’s last-minute win, when keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Saka’s crucial penalty kick
Over an hour into the rain-soaked game Italy managed to tie the score, sending the game into the devastating penalty round.
Mr. Saka’s failed penalty kick calls back to Mr. Southgate’s own time playing for England, when he missed a penalty in a Euros semi-final match 25 years earlier.
Outside of Wembley passionate fans breached security and entered the stadium without tickets, and police struggled to control crowds in central London.