Substitutes Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed in the penalty shootout during the 3-2 loss, were subjected to racist abuse on social media, and a mural was defaced in Rashford’s hometown of Withington, before it turned into a massive support.
The abuse has led to a police investigation and massive condemnation from the England captain, coach, leaders and many officials in several areas.
“I accept criticism for my performance all the time, my penalty wasn’t good enough and I should have scored, but I will never apologize for who I am and where I grew up,” the 23-year-old Manchester United striker wrote on Twitter.
He added, “I find no moment in which I feel more proud than to wear the Three Lions shirt (England) on my chest, and to follow my family encourages me among the tens of thousands of fans.”
Rashford took the third kick for England, after Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored before him, and although he sent Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the wrong direction, he hit the ball at the post.
He added: “I don’t know how to start, and I don’t even know how to find the right words to describe my feeling at the moment. I had a difficult season, and I think it was clear to everyone to follow that, and I will most likely enter this final lacking confidence. Everyone around me. The penalty kick was all I needed to help the team. I can score from penalties in my dreams while I sleep so why not score this time? It’s on my mind since I kicked the ball, and I can hardly find the words to describe how I feel.”
England had been dreaming of winning their first major title since winning the 1966 World Cup at Wembley, but lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time and then overtime.
“Final match. 55 years. One penalty kick. All I can say is my apologies. I wish the outcome had been different,” Rashford said. “While I keep saying I’m sorry, I assure all my teammates that I had one of the best camps of my career this summer. You all helped me with this.”