“It’s my fault.”
England coach Gareth Southgate knows only too well how painful a penalty shoot-out can be and he was quick to comfort Bukayo Saka and then take charge Final defeat at Euro 2020 against Italy.
After Saka’s penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, the 19-year-old was understandably upset – poked his head in his shirt – but was quickly surrounded by teammates who again showed the strong bond that was evident throughout the tournament.
As Saka fought back tears, he was hugged by Southgate, whose thoughts must have turned back to his Fine heartbreak at 96 euros.
Twenty-five years later, he had seen Marcus Rashford hit a post and Jadon Sancho and Saka saved their penalties when Italy drew 3-2 home after a 1-1 draw.
Kalvin Phillips, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount were among the English players, the Saka. could comfort immediately
“It’s up to me,” Southgate said of the penalty shootout.
“I chose the penalty takers based on what they did in training.
“Nobody is alone. We won as a team and it is up to all of us not to be able to win this game.
“When it comes to punishment, it’s my choice and entirely up to me.”
Saka, like so many England players, had played a huge role in helping Southgate’s side become the first Three Lions squad to reach a major men’s final in 55 years.
He started and impressed when England overcame a significant historical hump by beating Germany in the round of 16 and was back in the starting line-up in their semi-final win over Denmark.
In that game, at 19 years and 305 days, he became the youngest Englishman to start a game in the semifinals or later in a major tournament, and it was his cross that resulted in Simon Kjaer turning into his own net to give England the leadership.
After Sunday’s game, Southgate said none of their players should be blamed.
“You can’t be accused,” he said.
“They have done more than any other team in over 50 years.”
“The best players in the world miss penalty shootouts”
Former England captain Alan Shearer said those who missed the game should be commended for strengthening themselves in such a pressured encounter, especially considering their age.
“To get the youngsters to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll go ahead and take a fine’ … they have to be acknowledged,” Shearer said on BBC One.
“But now it’s going to be tough for them. Hopefully they’ll get over it.”
Rio Ferdinand, another former English skipper, agreed.
“There’s no way anyone can blame it and point the finger,” he said on BBC One.
“It’s a lottery. I’ve seen experienced players turn away and not take a penalty.
“The best players in the world sometimes miss penalties.”
“Everyone should tweet their support to Saka, Sancho and Rashford”
Rashford, Saka and Sancho received racist abuse on social media after the game.
The The football association said in a statement: “We couldn’t be more clear that anyone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome to follow the team.”
And there was huge support for the three players – and the rest of the squad.
Dan trees: Everyone should tweet @ BukayoSaka87, @ Sanchooo10 & @MarcusRashford. They’ve made the nation proud for the past 5 weeks and are going to feel terrible right now, but they had the guts to stand up and get us to the finals!
Stephan: I am glad these young men have Southgate as their manager. He will take care of you and show you how proud he is of you.
Jamie: Absolutely gutted, but I couldn’t be more proud of this team. This team gave us such fantastic weeks. Many Thanks.