England penalty takers Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, were targeted with racist abuse on social media after they missed from the spot during a penalty shootout on Sunday evening.
Humza Yousaf took to social media to send a message of solidarity to the team and to criticise those who had abused the players online.
He said: “If you're still wondering why English players felt the need to take the knee.
“Solidarity to the players facing racist abuse online, simply unacceptable.
“Squad can hold their heads up high, took a world class Italian team right to the wire, not a bad place to be before Qatar 2022.”
Mr Yousaf shared the England's Football Association (FA) statement which was released in the early hours of Monday morning, condemning the online abuse.
"The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media," the statement said.
"We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team. We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible."
Line Of Duty star Martin Compston is among many celebrities to have condemned the horrific comments.
“Knives out from some who had them knighted yesterday,” he said.
“Southgate and his team carried themselves with class.
“He led with humility, Rashford and Sterling role models for youngsters football or other wise credit to their country.
“Those that boo and abuse them are what’s wrong with it.”
Boxer Nicola Adams, Good Morning Britain presenter Alex Beresford and singer Lily Allen also took to social media to condemn the abusers.
Adams said the “sickening” abuse of players and attacks shows “exactly why football players are taking a knee”.
She added that England has “a very big problem with racism”, adding: “And this time it cannot be explained away!”
Singer Allen criticised the “truly pathetic and entirely predictable behavior from England fans”.
Comedian Bill Bailey congratulated England on reaching the final.
He added: “Only a year until the World Cup, a young side full of talent, who played well on the pitch and conducted themselves with dignity off it – unlike some thuggish boneheaded fans who deserve our contempt.”
His former Strictly Come Dancing partner Oti Mabuse also backed the players and hit out at their abusers saying: “So proud, they did so well – there is no need for attacks especially racial attack in a sport that we all enjoyed equally – more so when we were winning!”
BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker tweeted: “If #EURO2020 has got you into football, it’s disappointingly familiar to be mortified by the behaviour of a small number of fooligans.
“It’s also normal to not allow the bruises of the past to crush your dreams that… one day… it could happen. Win Together. Lose together.”