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Duke of Cambridge visits England changing room after Euro 2020 final to share message

England were visited by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, following their heartbreaking defeat by Italy on penalties at Wembley. Gareth Southgate’s side were beaten 3-2 on spot-kicks after the two teams drew 1-1 over the preceding 120 minutes.

Marcus Rashford hit the post with his attempt while Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka both saw their shots saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Jordan Pickford made two saves, including from penalty specialist Jorginho, but Donnarumma’s save from Saka won it for Italy.

It was a cruel way to end a brilliant tournament for England, who reached their first European Championship final and first major final of any kind since 1966.

Things had started exceptionally well when Luke Shaw smashed Southgate’s side ahead after just two minutes.

But Leonardo Bonucci’s close-range equaliser from a corner ensured it went the distance and penalties once again were England’s downfall.

JUST IN: Euro 2020 final: 45 arrests made by Met Police

“I just said to them we could have no recriminations,” he said when asked what he told the players in a huddle on the pitch after penalties.

“We win and lose together. Nobody is left on their own. The calls on the penalties were my own. My decision to ask the players to take the penalties they did, so they have got to walk away from here heads held high.

“They’ve done more than any other team over the last 50 or so years. The players should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done.

“Tonight is hard, of course, because to get so close, you know those opportunities in your life are incredibly rare.”

Italy came into the game unbeaten in 33 matches and their shoot-out victory means they have now won six major trophies.

FA release statement after England stars racially abused on social media after Italy loss

The Football Association have condemned racist social media content aimed at England players after the Three Lions were beaten by Italy in the Euro 2020 final. 

They have urged online platforms to do more to prevent hateful messages being posted, which has become an increasingly frequent occurence. 

Defender Luke Shaw put England on course for their first major tournament success since 1966 with an excellent half-volley inside two minutes. 

Italy struggled into the first half-time, only Federico Chiesa went close to testing Jordan Pickford with a long-range strike. 

However, they gained confidence in the second half and Leonardo Bonucci equalised after Pickford had tipped an effort onto the post. 

A goalless period of extra-time followed before a penalty shootout. 

Goalkeeper Pickford denied Andrea Belotti to hand England the advantage, but Marcus Rashord missed for the Three Lions. 

Jadon Sancho then had his attempt saved, only to be handed a reprieve when Pickford saved from Jorginho. 

Bukayo Saka had to score his effort to force sudden death but the teenager, who has been excellent at Euro 2020, saw his kick saved. 

Racist tweets and comments were directed at each of the three players who failed to score in the shootout. 

The FA have said that they will do all they can to support the players impacted by the abuse, but that social media companies should put stricter measures in place. 

A spokesperson for the governing body said: “The FA strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.

“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team.

“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.

“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.

“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”

England enjoyed a wonderful run to the final of the tournament, their first major showpiece event since 1966. 

There were memorable victories over Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ukraine and Denmark en route to the final.

Gareth Southgate will now prepare his squad for next year’s World Cup.

The tournament is being held in Qatar during the winter months.

England’s performance at Euro 2020 will make them one of the favourites to win the competition, which will be played over 56 years since they last won the World Cup in 1966.

Adele pens sweet message to England team after Euro 2020 loss: ‘Brought us all together’

She paired the bright shirt with patriotic nails featuring the St George’s flag.

But as with many sporting events, the comments section was divided between fans from all over the world who had tuned in to watch the Euros.

Last week, the singer was among millions celebrating England’s win against Denmark.

Euro 2020 final: Warning issued as England fan loses £1,200 in ‘shocking’ tickets scam

Last month, Action Fraud published an alert, urging people to take extra care when buying tickets of festivals and events online.

Figures from the national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime show almost £1million has been lost to ticket fraud so far this year.

The Action Fraud data revealed 1,085 reports of ticket fraud have been made so far in 2021, equating to an average loss of £850 per victim.

How to spot signs of ticket fraud

Action Fraud shared some tips on how to spot the signs of ticket fraud and protect oneself:

“Only buy tickets from the venue’s box office, official promoter or agent, or a well-known and reputable ticket site.

“Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer, especially if buying from someone unknown. Credit card or payment services such as PayPal give you a better chance of recovering your money if you become a victim of fraud.

England team ‘disgusted’ at social media abuse and call for ‘toughest punishments’

They vowed to support their teammates and called for the “toughest punishments” possible for those responsible.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were singled out for “discriminatory abuse” by some on social media after missing their penalties in the shootout.

Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma pulled off three saves to help the Azzurri claim their second European Championship.

In the immediate aftermath, the three unfortunate England players soon found themselves the target of racist attacks on social media.

More to follow…..

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Italy crowned European champions as England crash on penalties

Italy 1 — England 1 (after extra time)
Italy win 3-2 on penalties

England crash on penaltiesItaly deserved it, even if the win came on penalties, the monkey on England’s back for decades now.

Playing away from home in the Euro 2020 final, the Azzurri outpassed England, conceded just one shot on target (Luke Shaw’s goal), and are now unbeaten in 34 matches, the longest such streak in their history.

This team is greater than the sum of its parts, but it contains several remarkable individuals: Juventus’s ancient central defending duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the twin midfield playmakers Jorginho and Marco Verratti and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, apparently complete at 22 and named player of the tournament.

Gareth Southgate’s England were outclassed but highly organised as ever, did well to hold a better side for two hours of play, and can congratulate themselves on their best performance in a tournament since 1966.

England’s captain Harry Kane told the BBC: “We should be extremely proud as a group of what we have achieved,” adding, “We progressed well from Russia and now is about continuing that.”

Southgate said that the players: “have been an absolute joy to work with and they have gone further than we’ve gone for so long. But, of course, tonight it is incredibly painful in that dressing room. You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life.”

This game followed the script of most of England’s big games of recent decades: take an early lead, then spend the rest of the game defending with their backs to the wall, finally succumb, and lose on penalties.

On two minutes they counter-attacked down the right and found Kieran Trippier, who had come into the team for this match in the place of winger Bukayo Saka. A Beckham-esque striker of the ball, Trippier lobbed a precise cross to his fellow full-back, unmarked at the far post. Shaw crowned an excellent tournament by smashing in an instant half-volley.

Italy’s Andrea Belotti lifts the trophy after the final of Euro 2020 © AP

Wembley had been waiting for this moment for 55 years. The stadium was heaving, but dangerously so. It looked a lot fuller than the official capacity of 60,000. People without tickets had breached security, and in some stands every seat looked occupied, and then some: many were standing. Others arrived before extra time, and by the end some gangways were dangerously packed, with few interventions from stewards.

At first, Shaw’s goal seemed to have set up the game England wanted: sit back, rely on their tight defence that had conceded just once before in this tournament, let Italy come at their massed ranks, then hope to counter through the pacy Raheem Sterling.

Their central defensive trio of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker as ever made hardly any mistakes. Keeper Jordan Pickford had recovered his nerves after losing them in the semi-final against Denmark.

Southgate always has a plan, and by and large his players stick to it. When England had the ball, they tried to bypass central midfield, Italy’s strongest spot, where the Azzurri had both a numerical advantage and the Jorginho-Verratti engine room.

England aimed to play from the back straight to Shaw and Trippier on the flanks or hit deep passes to the head of Kane. But Kane and especially Sterling scarcely got into the game, neutralised by Bonucci (deservedly named “star of the match”) and Chiellini.

England are not an aggressive pressing side, and fielding three centre-backs meant surrendering midfield.

From late in the first half, Italy’s passing moves forced the English to defend around their own penalty area, the zone where one slip can mean disaster.

Italy were the more skilled side on the ball — 90 per cent of their passes were accurate, versus just 78 per cent of England’s — but they also trusted themselves to pass more. If you give a team as good as Italy almost nonstop possession, and licence to advance almost unhindered to within 20 yards of your goal, they are likely to take advantage at some point.

It took until the 61st minute for the Azzurri to force Pickford into a decisive save, diving to his left to stop Federico Chiesa’s low shot. But the goal came six minutes later, the logical consequence of ever-deeper Italian territorial penetration. The scorer, improbably, was 34-year-old Bonucci. An Italian corner prompted a scramble in the penalty area. Pickford pushed Verratti’s header against the post, but the Juventus grandee tapped in the rebound.

Southgate should have intervened to change England’s tactics earlier, but did so only after the damage was done, sending on Saka for Trippier and going from a five-man to a four-man defence.

From then on, England did manage to keep the ball more often and further from their own danger area.

In extra time Italy’s menace diminished, with their chief creator Verratti and Chiesa having gone off injured. Southgate had sent on the wild-card young dribbler, Jack Grealish, and he danced around Italian defenders, serenaded by Wembley as “Super, Super Jack”.

Still, the stats told the story of who had dominated the 120 minutes of play: Italy had 62 per cent possession, completed 755 passes to England’s 341, and had six shots on target to England’s one. It’s a tribute to England’s defensive organisation that they managed to take this game to penalties.

Southgate’s England will have felt more confident about the shootout than any other recent national side. They had broken the country’s ancient penalty jinx by beating Colombia in the shootout at the World Cup in 2018, and few sides practice penalties more or perform more exhaustive data analysis of them.

Just before the end of extra time, Southgate had sent on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho specifically for their prowess at penalty-taking.

It was brave of them to line up. In the event, they were the first England players to miss, after Kane and Maguire had hit unstoppable kicks. Perhaps it’s too much to ask of young men to come into a game of such importance cold, and then almost immediately take the weightiest spot-kicks in English football history.

When Donnarumma saved from Saka, it was all over.

Italy hadn’t even qualified for the last World Cup, a low in their modern footballing history. This triumph crowned their thrilling reinvention as an attacking passing side under manager Roberto Mancini. Their 13 goals at Euro 2020 were the most the Azzurri have scored in a major tournament.

Italy will travel with confidence to the World Cup in Qatar next year. But England — still a relatively young side with potential to grow — have an outside shot, too.

Italy wins Euro 2020, beats England in penalty shootout

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the Italian team was the best team in Europe Sunday for the first time since 1968.

LONDON, UK — Italian soccer’s redemption story is complete. England’s painful half-century wait for a major title goes on.

And it just had to be because of a penalty shootout.

Italy won the European Championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday. The match finished 1-1 after extra time.

Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by Bukayo Saka, England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shooutout in front of its own fans at Wembley Stadium.

It was less than four years ago that the Italians plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach.

England was playing in its first major final in 55 years. It’s the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.

England went ahead in the second minute when Luke Shaw scored the fastest goal in a European Championship final. Leonardo Bonucci equalized in the 67th.

Saka, a 19-year-old Londoner, was embraced by several England players after his miss. England coach Gareth Southgate hugged Jadon Sancho, who missed the previous England penalty, while Marcus Rashford — the other one to miss — walked off down the tunnel.

Sancho and Rashford had been brought on in the final minute of extra time, seemingly as specialist penalty takers.

Donnarumma was in tears as he was embraced by his teammates as they sprinted toward him from the halfway line, where they watched the second penalty shootout in a European Championship final.

They then headed to the other end of the field and ran as one, diving to the ground in front of their own fans.

It was Italy’s second continental title after 1968, to add to the country’s four World Cups.

That the match went to extra time — like three of the six European finals before it — was not unexpected, given both semifinals also went the distance and the defensive solidity of both the teams.

In fact, Italy’s famously robust defense was only really opened up once in the entire 90 minutes and that resulted in Shaw’s goal, a half-volley that went in off the near post from Kieran Trippier’s cross.

It was Shaw’s first goal for England and it prompted a fist-pump between David Beckham and Tom Cruise in the VIP box amid an explosion of joy around Wembley.

The fact that it was set up by Trippier, a full back recalled to the team as part of a change of system to a 3-4-3 for the final, would have brought extra satisfaction to Southgate.

Then, England barely saw the ball for the rest of the game.

Italy’s midfielders dominated possession, started playing their pretty passing routines and England resorted to getting nine or even all 10 outfield players behind the ball. It was reminiscent of the 2018 World Cup semifinals, when England also scored early against Croatia then spent most of the game chasing its opponent’s midfield.

Initially, the Italians could only muster long-range efforts but the equalizer arrived from much closer in.

A right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post, Marco Verratti had a stooping header tipped onto the post by Pickford, and Bonucci put the ball in from close range.

Still, England managed to hold on for extra time and actually had the better of the final stages.

Just not the shootout, again.

Italian soccer’s redemption story is complete. England’s painful half-century wait for a major title goes on.

And it just had be via a penalty shootout.

Italy won the European Championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday. The match finished 1-1 after extra time.

Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by Bukayo Saka, England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shooutout in front of its own fans at Wembley Stadium.

It was less than four years ago that the Italians plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach.

England was playing in its first major final in 55 years. It’s the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.

England went ahead in the second minute when Luke Shaw scored the fastest goal in a European Championship final. Leonardo Bonucci equalized in the 67th.

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England lose dramatic Euro 2020 penalty shootout as Italy crowned champions

SOME things it seems even Gareth Southgate cannot change. Another brave England performance, another agonising night for the nation. The players were younger, less experienced but a much more relatable bunch than their predecessors, but still that was not enough. Jordan Pickford looked like being the hero, saving from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho to keep England in it after Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed.

But Bukayo Saka – the embodiment of Southgate’s young England, saw his final kick saved and that was it.

Still that major crown remains determinedly elusive and it is Italy who can lay claim to being kings of Europe as they paraded the trophy in front of their delighted fans.

In 1966, the young Queen was here in person to hand out the football honours.

This time she sent the future of the Royal Family in the shape of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George… and a message.

“I send my good wishes with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves,” she wrote in a letter of Gareth Southgate.

No scoreline alone – whether it is positive or negative – is ever going to reflect that, but safe to say, Your Majesty, it is a night that always should certainly be remembered for all those qualities.

From the opening ceremony, it was a night that – when the emotional roller-coaster, which must eventually grind to a halt at some point during today’s national hangover – should have filled everybody with patriotic hope.

The chimes of Big Ben. The Red Arrows, the Coldstream Guards and now the England football team.

After all, it took them just two minutes to showcase their very best qualities.

World class skipper Harry Kane saw the opportunity and spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier whose pin-point cross was met by his opposite wing-back Shaw on the half-volley, right on the laces and the ball scraped the post at it flew straight in.

Roberto Carlos could not have finished it better.

Wembley went wild, up and down the country beers were thrown and in the Royal Box David Beckham and Tom Cruise performed an unexpected fist bump.

Such A-list celebrity is the England of old, though – a throwback to those more lacklustre exits of the Sven-Goran Eriksson era.

Southgate has put together more of a young ensemble cast, and for as long as they could they put on a very believable portrayal of a team who were in command of the game.

Shape was maintained, balls were chased down and every time Italy tried to play an intricate pass around the edge of the England area, a white figure ghosted into position to intercept.

However, this was the first time in over two years that Italy had even been behind and it was clear that they did not like it.

Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa were inevitably England’s chief tormentors – the latter beating Shaw in the 35th minute and firing just wide.

Ciro Immobile finally got involved, too, just before the break, firing a sharp shot at John Stones he knew very little about.

Clearly this was going to be a big half for England – the biggest for half a century.

Raheem Sterling fell in the box in the opening minutes but after the fuss made about the Denmark penalty was never going to get an award.

Pickford was properly tested by Chiesa for the first time in the 62nd minute as Italy continued to crank up the pressure.

Increasingly it was beginning to look like England were going to need to score again and Stones did come close with a header from a corner.

Then Italy finally broke England’s resolve from a corner of their own.

Pickford pushed Verratti’s header onto the post, but Leonardo Bonuccio was in the perfect place to bundle the rebound in.

Now what was this England team really made of?

The excellent Declan Rice was replaced by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka was thrown into the fray.

Old head; young legs.

The inevitable extra time was always going to be a test of both.

What England really needed was the ball, and Italy were not giving it to them much any more. Perhaps Jack Grealish could rectify that?

England were hanging on with some brave goalkeeping from Pickford but not even the Aston Villa maestro could save us from another shootout.

David Beckham and Tom cruise distract fans with fist pump as pair celebrate England goal

England have got off to a dream start at the Euro 2020 final against Italy with their first goal scored just two minutes in. As Shaw and his team mates celebrated his goal, former captain David Beckham and actor Tom Cruise were seen fist pumping to celebrate.

Viewers spotted the moment and flocked to Twitter to share their thoughts.

One wrote: “David Beckham and Tom Cruise celebrated with a fist pump in the crowd.”

“That David Beckham and Tom Cruise fist pump tho #EnglandvsItaly,” a second added.

A third added: “That Beckham and Tom Cruise fist pump was outrageous.”

READ MORE: Ellie Harrison details ‘unpleasant’ moment with Adam Henson

“They all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and, yes, they’ve had a good week… Ed Sheeran and Tom Cruise – the life of an England footballer,” he added.

Tonight’s match marks the first time England has advanced to a final in 55 years.

They haven’t won a major tournament since the World Cup in 1966.

Up until their match against Denmark earlier this week, they hadn’t conceded a goal. 

Familiar shootout heartbreak for England as Italy win Euros

It was penalty shootout heartbreak again for England and Gareth Southgate, as Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed from the spot in a crushing Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

When Jordan Pickford saved from Andrea Belotti there was real hope of a first major trophy in 55 years and ultimate redemption for Southgate, who missed a decisive spot-kick in the semi-final of Euro 96, but from the brink of glory in front of their own supporters at Wembley, England collapsed.

Rashford rolled a tame shot against the post and Sancho and Saka saw Gianluigi Donnarumma save their efforts in a 3-2 shootout defeat, sparking celebrations from the Italian players and the small but vocal cluster of their fans at the other end of the pitch.

Luke Shaw had given England a dream start, scoring his first goal for his country and the fastest of a Euros final ever, when he met a deep cross with a thumping half-volley just three minutes in. Southgate’s surprise wing-back system was causing Italy real problems but Roberto Mancini’s side wrestled control of possession and set about wearing their opponents down.

The penalty shoot-out

Player Team Outcome
Domenico Berardi Italy Scored
Harry Kane England Scored
Andrea Belotti Italy Saved
Harry Maguire England Scored
Leonardo Bonucci Italy Scored
Marcus Rashford England Missed
Federico Bernardeschi Italy Scored
Jadon Sancho England Saved
Jorginho Italy Saved
Bukayo Saka England Saved

The deserved equaliser eventually came from a set-piece, with veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci tapping in after a scramble on 67 minutes and, at 34 years old, becoming the oldest goalscorer in a Euros final. He was also one of three Italians to find the net from 12 yards at the end of extra-time to seal their second Euros crown, after their first in 1968.

For England’s players though, there was only despair. Southgate tried to console Rashford, Sancho and Saka but he knows himself how badly they’ll be feeling.

The manager will be able to talk about the progress of his young side, how they’ve made the country unite behind them in hope, and point to a chance to go again at the World Cup in 16 months’ time. But there will also be a cold, cruel realisation that England’s glorious chance to win it on their own patch was lost.

How the cup was won…

In contrast to the dejected mood of the England supporters as Italy celebrated, hours before kick-off, Wembley Way was flooded with fans, waving flares and booting footballs, drinking and chanting for their heroes. The supporters numbered far in excess of the 60,000 lucky enough to have tickets, with thousands making the pilgrimage to the national stadium to be a part of the historic occasion.

That enthusiasm and desire to support the team over-spilled on several occasions, with some trying to force their way into the stadium. They were unsavoury scenes but did not detract from the incredible atmosphere created by supporters inside the ground, with the crescendo at kick-off unlike anything the new Wembley has witnessed before.

Team news

Italy were unchanged for the final, while England brought in Kieran Trippier for Bukayo Saka to switch to a back three.

That noise went to a whole new level just moments after the first whistle. Italy had won an early corner but England counter-attacked rapidly, with Harry Kane shuttling the ball out wide to Kieran Trippier, who delivered a fantastic cross to the back post for Shaw to lash home a brilliant half-volley.

Luke Shaw celebrates after putting England ahead against Italy
Image:
Luke Shaw celebrates after putting England ahead against Italy

What a hit it was for his first goal for his country, and what a start to the final for England, who continued to cause real problems down the right side, with Emerson struggling to prevent Trippier from delivering two more crosses in quick succession.

The rain began to fall and the pitch quickened up, but it was still England fastest to every loose ball, sharpest with their touch and attacking with real pace. There were cheers from the England supporters as first Kalvin Phillips and then Harry Maguire confidently carried the ball out of defence past blue shirts, before sarcastic applause greeted Lorenzo Insigne’s dragged drive wide.

The jeers were more nervous when Federico Chiesa, trying to single-handedly get his side back on track, fired just past the upright on 35 minutes after a spell of Italian pressure. Mancini’s side remained on the front foot but struggled to see a way through the walls of white shirts, with Ciro Immobile’s shot blocked by John Stones and Marco Verratti’s follow up easy for Pickford.

England thought they had made another fast start at the beginning of the second half, when Raheem Sterling hit the deck in the box as he tried to wriggle past two Italy defenders but his penalty appeals were waved away and replays showed it was the forward trying to initiate contact.

He was then almost punished for a foul of his own at the other end, with Insigne clipping a free-kick just off target. The tricky winger badly miscued another effort soon after but he was the Italians’ main threat, firing at Pickford from a tight angle after being forced wide in the box by Stones and Kyle Walker.

England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford makes a save against Italy
Image:
England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford makes a save against Italy

England’s No 1 had to be even sharper to keep out Chiesa’s low drive with his left hand moments later before Stones landed his side’s first shot on target since the goal from a corner, forcing Donnarumma to tip over.

It was an Italian corner which brought the equaliser, though. The ball travelled to the back post, where Verratti directed a header at goal. Pickford managed to tip it onto the inside of his post but Bonucci reacted quickest to stick it away.

Bonucci scores equaliser for Italy in Euro 2020 final
Image:
Bonucci scores equaliser for Italy in Euro 2020 final

Southgate’s response was to send on Saka and switch his side to 4-3-3 – but they almost fell behind when Domenico Berardi connected with Bonucci’s long pass over the top on the volley, sending his effort over with Pickford out of his goal.

The momentum seemed to be with Italy but an injury to Chiesa stalled the game and England were better for the breather, with Mason Mount combining with Shaw and crossing for Saka, Shaw firing over, and Sterling running from deep into the Italian box.

Saka looked to have broken free near the halfway line on the stroke of full-time but he was cynically hauled down by Giorgio Chiellini, who was booked, and, for the second match in a row, these teams were forced into extra-time.

Chiellini showed the more admirable side of his game five minutes after the restart, making a crucial block after Sterling drove into the box, before Phillips shot wide from the resulting corner. With England’s tails suddenly up, Jack Grealish was thrown into the action. The maverick clearly worried Italy’s defenders as soon as he got on the ball – but it was the Azzurri next to go close.

Emerson’s cross was just missed by Federico Bernardeschi and forced away by Pickford before Bernardeschi’s shot was blocked by Phillips in the next move.

England's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford makes a save in front of Italy's Federico Bernardeschi during the Euro 2020 final soccer match between Italy and England at Wembley
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England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford makes a save in front of Italy’s Federico Bernardeschi during the Euro 2020 final soccer match between Italy and England at Wembley

Bernardeschi hit a free-kick straight at Pickford at the start of the second half before Wembley gasped at the other end as first Grealish saw a shot in the box blocked and then a cross was just out of the reach of Stones, as Donnarumma punched clear.

The Aston Villa ace was beginning to make England tick again, despite getting Jorginho studs in his thigh during one painful collision, but by this stage attentions were turning towards the looming penalty shoot-out, with Rashford and Sancho sent on by Southgate.

Perhaps it was inevitable that England’s destiny in their first final since 1966 would be decided by what has been the major talking point of their shortcomings in these competitions in modern times. They hoped to have put their poor record from 12 yards to bed at Russia 2018 when they beat Colombia – but it was a familiar tale of despair from the spot.

Pickford had Wembley believing when he denied Belotti but Rashford and Sancho handed the advantage back to Italy and although Jorginho surprisingly missed the chance to wrap it up, Saka’s effort was saved to send the trophy Italy’s way.

See you in Qatar 22 read the advertising boards. For all the pain of this defeat, Southgate’s inspiring young side at least won’t have long to wait to go again…

Opta stats – England’s painful defeat in numbers

  • Italy have won their second European Championship title, and first in 53 years (also 1968); it’s the longest ever gap between championships in the tournament by a single nation, surpassing Spain’s 44-year wait from 1964 to 2008.
  • Italy have won their sixth major tournament title (4 World Cup, 2 Euros); among European nations, only Germany (7) have won more.
  • England have won just 22% (2/9) of their major tournament shootouts (World Cup/Euros), the lowest ratio of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.
  • Italy found themselves trailing in a game for the first time at Euro 2020, while overall they spent 65 minutes behind against England in the final, 21 more than they had been behind in their 33-game unbeaten run (in all competitions) coming into the final (44).
  • Gareth Southgate has made at least one change to the England starting XI for 37 consecutive matches, making a total of 200 changes in that time and last staying with the same starting line-up in the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
  • Against Italy, Harry Kane failed to muster a shot or create a goal-scoring chance for only the second time in his 61 appearances for England, also doing so in a friendly against Switzerland in September 2018.