A mural honouring England forward Marcus Rashford has been vandalised after he missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy. The mural in Withington, Manchester was covered with graffiti shortly after the final on Sunday, which was marred with racism and violence after the hosts lost 3-2 on penalties to be denied a maiden European Championships.

Torrents of racial abuse was targeted at Rashford, as well as Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho on social media after they missed their respective spot kicks in the shootout. All three players were substitutes, with Saka coming on in the second half of normal time while Rashford and Sancho were introduced in the final few seconds of extra time.

A number of swear words were written on the mural with the word “Saka” alongside, according to the BBC. An investigation has been launched, the Greater Manchester Police confirmed, adding they received complaints of racially aggravated damage at around 2:50 am BST.

Also Read | Unforgivable: England coach Gareth Southgate on racist abuse of players

The mural is based on a photograph by Daniel Cheetham and was painted by street artist Akse. The project was created in collaboration with Withington Walls, a community street art project. It was created to commemorate Rashford’s work to tackle child food poverty in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Take pride in knowing that your struggle will play the biggest role in your purpose,” the quote on the mural, provided by Rashford’s mother, read.

Withington Walls co-founder Ed Wellard said to wake up to the news of the vandalism was “depressing”. “We dared to dream yesterday and our hopes were dashed but to wake up to this is more depressing. Racism seems to be more and more prevalent.”

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said it was a “despicable, shameful act”. “We could not be more proud of Marcus Rashford and his role in taking our country to its first major final in 55 years,” he added in a tweet.

England coach Gareth Southgate and Prime Minister Boris Johnson are among those to have condemned the racist abuse aimed at the players.