Tag Archives: Familiar

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
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
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
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
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.

Just when they need calm heads, Chelsea’s season threatens to be derailed by familiar failings at both ends & away from the pitch

At the moment when Roman Abramovich might have believed Chelsea were cruising, the Premier League giants have self-destructed. Facing a crunch week in the Champions League, the worry is that a fine run has concealed old issues.

Back in September, Chelsea’s third league match of the season ended in a 3-3 draw at relegation candidates West Brom that was more traumatic than a spirited comeback for an away point might have seemed on the surface.

3-0 down after 27 minutes, the visitors were hamstrung by mistakes from Marcos Alonso and Thiago Silva, the latter of whom had supposedly been signed to shore up their notoriously porous defense.

To add to the descending early-season anxiety, Tammy Abraham missed an excellent chance and Timo Werner hit the crossbar. That was a neat summary of the inaccuracies in front of goal that have continued to frequently trouble their strikers throughout the campaign.

There was something appropriate, then, about West Brom – still near-certs to go down, even after their spectacular away win – inflicting a defeat at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. In doing so, they reminded Abramovich and Chelsea of many of their squad’s old issues, providing an unwelcome jolt that has left their victims just two points ahead of Spurs and Liverpool in the final Champions League qualification place in the Premier League.

Worse was to come. A newspaper report on Sunday detailed a shoving match between at-times calamitous goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and defender Antonio Rudiger at training, apparently seeing both players banished from the session in a spat that has been acknowledged ahead of the Champions League quarter-final showdown with Porto on Wednesday.

Germany international Rudiger had been named as one of the players who had at least offered murmurings of misgivings under former boss Frank Lampard. Those rumors remain just that, but the repeat of reports of dissent from Rudiger and a poor result against West Brom form an uncanny parallel with two of the storylines that will ultimately be remembered from the drawn-out build-up to Lampard’s demise.

The shock replacement of Lampard with Tuchel in January has looked like one of Abramovich’s most inspired appointments so far. The German’s run of 14 matches unbeaten until Saturday was the longest of any new manager in the club’s history, and Chelsea had not even conceded a goal at home under his rule until additional time in the first half, when Matheus Pereira scored the first of two goals in three minutes to violently puncture the air of serenity that has prevailed since Tuchel’s arrival.

Going behind after Thiago had hindered rather than helped once more by being sent off, Chelsea emphatically demonstrated their capacity to look every bit as hapless as they did during the worst moments of their pre-Tuchel season, boding ill for a trip to Seville where there is unlikely to be any room for further generosity.

The Portuguese champions have only conceded to Manchester City and Juventus in European competition this season, and their achievement in preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring in three-and-a-half hours of football does not suggest they will be excessively fearful of a Tuchel team who are yet to hit the net more than twice in a game under their new coach.

Tuchel will want to use his dramatic first defeat as a potentially useful reminder that, despite the impressive Champions League round of 16 win against Atletico Madrid and his long unbeaten run, Chelsea could have one foot out of the competition and both feet outside of the Premier League top four in six days’ time.

On the other hand, he will have undoubtedly looked back in optimistic mode to reflect that a shambolic collapse might rather have come against West Brom than in the form of a likely-decisive defeat at Porto, against whom he must hope that his team are as resilient and ruthless as they were against Atletico.

Top scorer Abraham, who has been kept out by an ankle injury and a lack of favor under Tuchel, has scored only 12 times all season, while Timo Werner, who is a goal behind Olivier Giroud on ten for the league campaign, again looked like what he is on Saturday: a signing dealing with a goal drought and the weight of expectations.

Eerie similarities to one of Lampard’s earliest struggles aside, there is little that can reasonably be read into Tuchel’s first setback other than the entertainment of another strange result in a season when home advantage has counted for less than ever.

It was thought that the Atletico tie and trips to Tottenham and Liverpool would be the first real tests of Tuchel’s mettle. As it turns out, he is facing his most defining week so far as the result of losing to a team that has won four league matches out of 30 this season, having spent the previous two seasons in the second tier of English football.

Abramovich said last month that he was fully entwined with the unpredictability of the sport, yet Lampard was not axed with due consideration for the misfortune that every manager is doomed to endure at some point. Tuchel will hope that luck is on his side as he discovers whether a comically bad weekend will give way to a week of redemption or deepening decline.

By Ben Miller


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Atlanta Suspect’s Fixation on Sex Is Familiar Thorn for Evangelicals

“Sex addiction” is not an established psychiatric diagnosis[1], and there is a debate in the mental health community about how to define and treat compulsive sexual behavior.

“There’s no evidence-based treatment for sex addiction,” said Joshua Grubbs, an assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University and a clinical psychologist. Evangelical sex addiction treatment tends to emphasize total abstinence from any sexual behavior outside heterosexual marriage. “They don’t take into account that humans are creatures with a drive for sex,” Dr. Grubbs said.

Mr. Long and his family were active members at Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Ga., which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. In the church’s youth group for high school students, Mr. Long was “one of those core young men involved in everything we did,” said Brett Cottrell, a former youth and missions pastor at the church.

In November, an associate pastor at the church, Luke Folsom, preached a sermon on the “battle” against sin. He quoted a verse from the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his followers that it may be worth gouging out an eye if it causes them to sin.

He continued, addressing the use of pornography directly. “Cut it out by getting rid of your smartphone, getting rid of internet connection, anything and everything that would allow you to do it,” he said. “Your soul is at stake.”

Lust, he added, is “a heart problem, not just an eye problem.”

The church, which declined a request for an interview with its leaders, issued a statement on Friday that condemned the violence at the Atlanta-area spas, as well as the suspect’s “stated reasons for carrying out this wicked plan.”

The church also emphasized that the gunman alone was to blame for his actions. “The women that he solicited for sexual acts are not responsible for his perverse sexual desires nor do they bear any blame in these murders,” the church stated. “These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind.”


  1. ^ not an established psychiatric diagnosis (www.washingtonpost.com)

Ruth Graham