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England: Hate Won’t Win – your messages of appreciation for the Three Lions

BBC Sport and Sky Sports come together to send a zero-tolerance message on online hate

Gareth Southgate’s England team have thrilled the country, winning respect and admiration, with their performances on the field and conduct off it at Euro 2020.

That’s why, in response to the racist abuse sent to social media to Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, BBC Sport wanted to send the message that hate won’t win.

We asked you to share your personal messages of admiration to the team to show the true feeling in England – and you responded in your thousands. Below are some of the best:

“To Gareth and the squad, thank you. On the football pitch, you inspired the nation with your dedication and commitment to the cause. Off the field, you inspired us with your empathy, togetherness and strength in adversity. You are a reflection of all the positive aspects of modern England and of what modern men can be. We can cry in moments of defeat, we can hug and support each other in difficult times, we can show love and affection to our families and we can laugh and share moments of joy together. You might not have won the tournament, but you haven’t failed. You’ve given the country so much cause for celebration. The pride this squad has to wear the shirt is clear to see and you’re all fantastic representatives of our nation. I had my first child last year, a boy. This England team give me hope for what he can one day become. I couldn’t ask for a better group of role models. You are heroes and have achieved something not seen in half a century. A fantastic accomplishment and you should all be so proud.” – Gary Woodcock

“Before the match on Sunday, I was running round the garden with my five-year-old old nephew, who was scoring goals and pretending to be Saka, his favourite player. That’s what I’ll think of whenever I see Saka play for England again, and I hope that he and the rest of the team know how much they’ve inspired so many.” – James

Thanks to all of you my son wants to return to the game and start playing again. He lost the passion, confidence and desire to play football last year when Covid ruled and your performances in this tournament have helped bring that back for him. Thank you and well done for making some truly great memories for every England supporter.” – John H

“Gareth Southgate, you and your Three Lions, especially Rashford, Sancho and Saka, are the heroes who make me proud to be English! Thank you for not only bringing football home, but also pride, community, compassion and decency.” – Sarah Lowes

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“This England team have shown just what can be achieved when people work together, appreciating each others strengths as well as their differences. They are remarkable young men who did their absolute best and did us all proud despite being under more pressure than most of us will ever know or feel.” – Kate Mackenzie

“To each and every one of the England squad. Thanks for giving us something to smile about! Having spent the last 18 months working as a paramedic this is the first time I’ve actually forgotten about Covid! You were all fantastic! My wife and my little girl loved every minute too! Oh and Saka, please sign for Everton.” – Matt Kinsley

“You all, by your solidarity and obvious care and concern for one another, have made us able to feel pride at last in ‘flying the flag’ for England. This is the kind of England we need to see: a country where racism is not in the DNA; a country where different ethnicities are celebrated. Fantastic achievement.” – Chris O’Hara

“Wowzer, where to start! The past weeks watching you guys have brought my love for football back. You guys are the best TEAM I’ve ever seen. Watching you, listening to you, has been magnificent. As a 38-year-old woman, I found myself kicking a ball about on my drive! I shall follow all of your careers and am so proud of you. Cannot wait for the World Cup. You gave us more than anything a trophy can. Stand together. Love you guys.” – Louisa

“This England team have done this country proud. You have represented us with pride, dignity and courage on and off the pitch. You have given hope to millions and have made football feel inclusive for everyone. Hold your heads up high boys, you’ve shown what we can be at our very best. You are our lions and you will roar again!” – Dan Steggles

“I have never really been much of a football supporter, but after the terrible 18 months this country has had and all of the hardships we have had to endure, this competition has been a true beacon of light – for everyone. Whether you’re a supporter of football or not, the game has brought people together and has demonstrated how we are stronger together. It has been heartwarming to see how much people have enjoyed seeing England do well, rooting for them all the way, showing an enduring spirit. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the games and feel extremely proud of how the team have conducted themselves throughout the competition. The players have behaved impeccably and should feel proud of their huge achievements. Our penalty takers in the final should feel the most proud though. They did their absolute best and are England’s heroes without a doubt. Shame on the people who criticise and behave so shamefully – you are not true fans. Hold your heads high, England team – you’re amazing and have been led by a wonderful, compassionate, supportive manager. You now have the World Cup to work towards and bring home! No pressure England!” – DM

“Well done boys, the best we have had for a long time, so very proud of you all. I can only dream to be half the man that you all are. Thank you for everything you do.” – Mark Lloyd

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“You have been the greatest of teams – your respect, dignity and friendship for each other has shone through. You made me proud to be British – and I’m not really a football fan! Thank you.” – Beverley Lloyd

“You all should be so proud of yourselves. Hold your heads high and your chests out. You’ve achieved so much more than anyone could ever dream of. Nothing can change what a fantastic bunch of amazing souls you are.” – Mike

“You all did GREAT and did England proud! To those that missed your penalties… they wouldn’t make pencils with rubbers on the end if we didn’t all get it wrong once in a while, and massive respect to you for stepping up under unimaginable pressure. There’s always next time. Onwards and upwards!” – Shaun Reade

“I want to thank the England team and Gareth Southgate for making us all feel alive again at a time when so much life has been taken away from us. Yes, it’s horrible we didn’t win but we all need to see this as a massive opportunity to learn and grow so we can become an even stronger team for the World Cup. Great teams are born out of great events, both positive and negative. I love the current England squad because it represents the future and it is taking this country forward far beyond football. COME ON ENGLAND!” – Charlie

“A truly amazing group of players that brought us all together and lifted the nation, bringing us all so much joy and positivity. I feel so incredibly proud of what they have done for this country.” – Fay

“What a team. Brave in the way you play, brave in the way you act. Everybody associated with this England team can be proud knowing that this side brought happiness to millions.” – Adam

“What an amazing team. Wonderful to watch. You should all be proud.” – Sally Hall

“You boys brought a nation together after 16 months of isolation, the way you inspired so many was nothing short of a miracle.” – Darcy Burbidge

“Absolutely fantastic efforts. To see England playing as a team and without ego is so refreshing. The whole country can see this is the start of real change and we are with you all every step of the way. Ignore the ignorance, I couldn’t believe how brave you were coming off the bench, in a final, to take a penalty. Fine margins, if one had gone in, we could be champions and the gamble looks genius! We’ll go again, be proud now of what you have achieved and bringing the country together” – Andy Munday

“I’m not a football kind of girl, but I’ve been gripped watching this year’s Euros. The last three games (quarters, semis and the final) were spent watching it at family, friends etc – altogether. Which is what England should be proud of – bringing people together, after the terrible 18 months we’ve had. They have brought us joy, laughter and most importantly unity. Well done England, we are all so, so proud of you. From a new football-mad girl!” – Lizzy Block

“As a family of footie supporters, we are so proud of our national team and manager and coaching staff. Thank you for the past few wonderful weeks, we love you all.” – Sue Howarth

“You tried your heart out boys. So proud of you all. Gareth, you are a professional, exceptional manager. Football will come home with you in charge. Huge hugs sent to you all.” – Linda Link

“You made us all proud. The haters are not ‘us’. Be brave, become stronger.” – Dave Dixon

“They are young men that have lifted the country. They gave their all until the end. Football is already home.” – Sarah Hare

“If you’re tweeting racist things about the England team you’re a disgrace! These young boys did the whole country proud and the only thing those fans did is let us all down. Embarrassing!” – Jay

“So proud of our England team. What fabulous role models for our youngsters. Thank you so much! You have achieved great things and even better days lay ahead. I feel real pity for the haters. How sad and toxic their lives must be.” – Paula Storey

“What an emotional rollercoaster of a tournament. Don’t normally get to leave the house but the Lions gave me and my dad a night we will never, ever forget at the semis against Denmark. Southgate you will always be the one! Thank you Lions! Forever legends.” – Jack

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