Another international tournament and another disappointing penalty shootout for England.
England’s relationship with the dreaded match decider after a tied fixture having run its course of 120+ minutes is lengthy and mixed.
Whilst some victories are found in the form of 2018’s World Cup penalty shootout win over Colombia, Gareth Southgate’s boys were unable to repeat the feat two tournaments running.
Italy meanwhile won back-to-back shootouts to win the competition.
On the night Harry Kane and Harry Maguire both scored their spot-kicks but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all unable to convert meaning Roberto Mancini and company took home the trophy.
There was criticism of the decision to allow Saka and Sancho to take the pressurised penalties and for other more experienced players to watch on.
“If you’re Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid walk up in front of you,” said Roy Keane on ITV after the final result.
“They’ll have worked all of this out over the last few weeks in camp – they’ll have done sessions on it… it will have been scientific and data-led.”
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) July 11, 2021
Southgate takes responsibility
England manager Gareth Southgate said after the game that he would take responsibility for the decision of the penalty takers.
“That is my responsibility,” Southgate said. “I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. They have been tight throughout and that’s how it needs to stay.
“It is my decision to give him [Saka] that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to.
“What they have to know is none of them are on their own. We win and lose as a team. Penalties are my call. We worked in training. It’s not down to the players. Tonight it hasn’t gone for us.
“We know they were the best takers we had left on the pitch. Of course it’s going to be heart breaking for the boys but they are not to blame for that.”
There will be further analysis and investigations in the days to come. What needs to happen now is support for the young players who carried a nation’s expectations on their shoulders.
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This article was edited by Josh Barker.