It didn’t come home. Italy put an end to England’s Euro 2020 dreams, ending their Wembley party in the cruellest fashion with a penalty shootout defeat in the final on Sunday.
The whole of England had been brimming with hope and expectation, but the Italians had the last word. While Italy now have two European Championships to add to their four World Cup triumphs, England’s wait for silverware stretches into a 56th year.
For the hosts it had all started so brightly, when they took the lead inside two minutes through a cracking Luke Shaw goal, but they were then reeled in by a cannier, more experienced side on the night. With his side locked at 1-1 against Italy after 120 minutes of the Euro 2020 final, the game was decided from the penalty spot and three of Southgate’s players missed to gift the title to the Italians.
With the clock ticking up towards 120 minutes, the England manager brought on 23-year-old Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho (21). Both took kicks in the shootout, with Rashford hitting the post and Sancho’s penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.With England needing to score to stay alive, 19-year-old Bukayo Saka was called on to take what proved to be the final spot-kick, Donnarumma saving again to secure the trophy for Italy 3-2 on penalties.
Here is how the sporting world reacted:
If we are honest Italy were better tonight … But this England side are so so close and will come again … So young with lots of tournaments to come … What an incredible 4 weeks which has given all our country a huge lift … Cheers @England … 👍👍
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) July 11, 2021
It’ll come home at The World Cup! We love this England team.
Chins up! 🙏🏽
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) July 11, 2021
I have one question…does Gareth Southgate have a problem with Grealish ???????
— Ian Botham (@BeefyBotham) July 11, 2021
Congratulations Italy👏 #EURO2020
— Surya Kumar Yadav (@surya_14kumar) July 11, 2021
Gutted for the boys tonight, heartbreaking way to lose. Every single one of you done this Country Proud and brought Our Nation Together 🏴 Within Minutes the trolls start Racially Absuing Players, it’s ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING !!!
— Ashley Young (@youngy18) July 11, 2021
— Theo Hernandez (@TheoHernandez) July 11, 2021
The identity Gareth has given the team, the quality and character the players have shown. We’ve made huge progress. I think within the next 3 tournaments we will win one. I’m confident of that. Credit to the team and credit to Gareth. They’ll be back. ❤️#eng #ThreeLions
— Daniel Sturridge (@DanielSturridge) July 11, 2021
Well done Italy. Thank you Mancini for remind and showing us that with small quality players you can still win big tournaments in modern football. Heads up to all the English players and fans, you’ve done everyone proud. 👏🏻
— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) July 11, 2021