Heartbreak for England’s young guns as Southgate left with a lot to answer for


It’s coming Rome: Heartbreak for England’s young guns as Southgate left with a lot to answer for in Euro 2020 final defeat

 

England’s up and coming crop of talent were dealt unimaginable heartbreak this evening, as Italy emerged victorious from the Euro 2020 finale.

Bonucci cancels out Shaw

The long-awaited European Championship showpiece played out at Wembley a short time ago.

The clash, of course, saw the two standout nations of the summer – Italy and England – face off for a spot in the international history books.

The former headed into proceedings riding high on the back of a 33-game unbeaten streak across all competitions, and were, in turn, viewed as favourites by many ahead of the action getting underway.

England, though, were always likely to pose the most serious threat to the Azzurri’s near record-breaking stretch.

Gareth Southgate’s men had too lit up the Euros to date, notching five wins from six, all whilst conceding just a solitary goal.

In turn, with a cagey 90 minutes widely anticipated, it came as nothing short of a shock when, inside the opening two minutes at Wembley, the scoring was opened.

A scintillating English breakaway, set in motion by Harry Kane, eventually culminated in Kieran Trippier’s pinpoint ball from the right being lashed home at Gianluigi Donnarumma’s near post by Luke Shaw:

The hosts, from here, went on to control the remainder of the opening 45 minutes, keeping Italy’s attacking stars very much in check.

Upon the restart, however, the tide soon turned.

With England sitting increasingly (and altogether needlessly) deep in a bid to hold onto their advantage, Italy were invited forward, opening the door for an ever increasing influence from the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa.

And such pressure, in turn, ultimately saw Italy draw level midway through the 2nd-half.

After a whipped corner from the right was pinballed around the Three Lions’ box, Jordan Pickford’s best efforts proved to be in vain, as Leonardo Bonucci slotted home from close range:

The visitors continued to dominate as the second 45 rolled on, pinning an increasingly negative England back inside their own half.

Upon the final whistle sounding, though, Mancini’s men simply couldn’t find an all-important 2nd, forcing yet another Euro 2020 matchup into extra-time.

Heartbreak for England’s young stars

A similar pattern followed throughout much of time added on, as Italy controlled both the tempo and flow of the clash, but time and time again were met by a stout English baclkline.

The likes of Federico Bernardeschi and Raheem Sterling, in turn, saw chances come and go, but the net, ultimately, failed to ripple.

The dreaded penalty shootout therefore ensued.

Heartbreak lay in store, but for which nation? In the end, it proved to be England.

The Italians were actually first to miss, as Andrea Belotti saw his tame effort comfortably saved by Jordan Pickford.

It’s coming Rome: Heartbreak for England’s young guns as Southgate left with a lot to answer for in Euro 2020 final defeat

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Jordan Pickford of England celebrates during the penalty shoot out during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images)

From here, though, Gareth Southgate’s late, and altogether questionable decision-making when it came to personnel, cost the Three Lions, and fans across the nation, dear.

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, both of whom were introduced off the bench with just minutes remaining in extra-time, bravely stood up to take responsibility from 12 yards. But the two Manchester United attackers, lacking in sharpness not only owing to their late introductions tonight, but minimal action throughout the tournament as a whole, went on to fluff their lines.

After Jorginho uncharacteristically wasted the chance to put England to bed for good, the hopes of a nation were therefore placed on the young shoulders of another – Bukayo Saka. Arsenal’s gifted wide-man, however, was foiled by hero of the night Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italy net, sparking wild celebrations in the Azzurri ranks:

Grit, determination, quality, and above all, belief – Italy, your Euro 2020 champions:

 

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