For the first time in 55 years, the Three Lions of England found themselves in the final of a major tournament and failed to go all the way. The English team faced Italy in Euro 2020 final at the Wembley Stadium on July 11 and the match dragged into penalty shootouts after a 1-1 draw.
Gareth Southgate decided to select Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka to take England’s spot-kick.
Kane and Maguire scored England’s first two kicks but Rashford directed his kick to the post, while Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Saka and Sancho’s kicks.
Italy went on to win Euro 2020 3-2 on penalties excluding the 1-1 draw in regular time. The defeat did not go down well for English fans who were looking forward to winning their first European Championship. Hence, they went on to subject the three players that missed their spot-kicks to racist attacks.
After the game, coach Gareth Southgate insisted that it was down to him because he selected the players that took the kicks. He insisted that the team wins and loses together.
“It is down to me”, the English tactician insisted. “I decided on the penalty-takers based on what they have done in training.
“Nobody is on their own. We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win this game.
“In terms of penalties, it is my call and it totally rests with me…
“You cannot have any recriminations. They have done more than any other team in over 50 years.”
Gareth Southgate urges his players to be proud
England went into Euro 2020 as one of the favorites to win the tournament due to the number of talents they have in their squad.
It was almost looking like it when Luke Shaw put England ahead in the second minute of the final game, but that was not to be as Italy’s Bonucci equalized in the 67th minute.
After 120 minutes of football, the two teams failed to score the winner, hence, the game was decided by penalty shootouts. England missed three of their kicks while Italy missed two which was enough to give the Italian team the trophy.
England’s coach Gareth Southgate said: “Tonight is going to be extremely difficult for all of us, of course. You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life.
“But when they reflect on what they have done, they should be incredibly proud of themselves.
“The players have been an absolute credit. They have given everything they possibly could.
“They have been an absolute joy to work with and they have gone further than we’ve gone for so long. But it is incredibly painful in that dressing room.”