Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England

England players look on during the penalty shootout

Pool via REUTERS

England have lost their first major final in 55 years at the hands of an impressive Italian side.

Gareth Southgate’s men took an early lead through a stunning Luke Shaw volley at the far post, which seemed to stun the Italian team.

However, Roberto Mancini’s side came back strong and managed to equalise through Leonardo Bonucci.

The deadlock wasn’t broken in the remainder of the match, and neither in extra time, so it went to penalties. Despite heroics from Pickford, unfortunately Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties, giving Italy a 3-2 win in the shootout.

England fans were gutted but understandably proud of the team regardless of the result.

Former England striker Michael Owen said on Twitter that the loss was “heartbreaking”. He added: “But this squad has a bright future and they’ve lifted the nation both on and off the pitch after a shocking year or so. Bring on the World Cup in Qatar.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the England team has “inspired and united our nation” as they lost out to Italy at penalties. He tweeted: “To England: thank you. You have inspired and united our nation both on and off the pitch at every turn.“We could not be any prouder of what you have achieved.”

All credit to Italy who was deserved winners in the end and by far the best team at the tournament.

Southgate took full responsibility for England’s failure from the spot. “We prepared as well as we could for that and that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kicks,” he told ITV. “No one is on their own in that situation. We decided to make the changes right at the end of the game and we win and lose together as team.”

In a tweet from the KensingtonRoyal account, the Duke of Cambridge congratulated the Italian football team on their win. He said: “Heartbreaking. Congratulations @azzurri on a great victory.“@England, you’ve all come so far, but sadly this time it wasn’t our day. You can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves — I know there’s more to come. W.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the England team is the “very best of our country” after their defeat against Italy in the Euro 2020 final. He wrote on Twitter: “Heartbreaking. On and off the pitch, this team is the very best of our country.“They’ve done us proud.”

There’s always some gallows humour to this type of occasion and the English can do that like no other.

Still, England gave their fans some memorable moments.

We hope Tom Cruise gets home ok – and the little car too.

On ITV Roy Keane said: “We said that heading to penalties, that no team deserved to lose it. Someone is always going to miss a penalty, but it is not a night to be critical of any England players, Gareth or his staff.

“Instead of criticising players that missed, I admire them for stepping up. And all credit goes to both goalkeepers for making some brilliant saves.

“A tough night for England, but sometimes you have to lose to win. The World Cup is only around the corner and these players will be the better for it. But you have to take your medicine and move on.”

Maybe next year...

Unlucky England. You did the nation proud regardless. Bravo Italia. You were the better team.

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