England manager Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for the defeat on penalties to Italy in the UEFA EURO 2020 Final, as parking the bus ultimately proved counter-productive.
Luke Shaw had broken the deadlock after just two minutes, but then sat back and tried to counter, even after Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser.
“We are hugely disappointed of course, I think firstly the players have been an absolute credit, they have given everything they possibly could,” Southgate told BBC Sport.
“Tonight exactly the same, they have run themselves into the ground. At times they played really well, at times we didn’t really keep the ball quite well enough. Especially at the start of the second half. But they can’t have recriminations. They 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.”
Southgate will inevitably face questions, as he only brought on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in the final seconds of extra time to take penalties, and they both failed to convert.
Bukayo Saka saw the final attempt saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, handing the trophy to Italy.
“That is it is down to me, I decided on the penalty takers based on what they have done in training and nobody is on their own. We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win the game tonight and in terms of penalties it is my call and it totally rests with me.
“We were well prepared and we started it well, unfortunately we weren’t able to convert tonight. They can’t look at themselves in terms of how they practice because they couldn’t have done that anymore or any better.”
This was the first ever European Championship Final for England and the first major tournament Final since 1966.
“We are all together, they have given the country some unbelievable memories, tonight is going to be extremely difficult for all of us of course.
“You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life. But when they reflect on what they have done, they should be incredibly proud of themselves.
“At the moment the pain of the defeat is huge, we wanted to give our nation one more special night and a first European championship and we haven’t quite been able to do it.”
A step too far for England… but didn’t they do England proud.
Congratulations to Italy.https://t.co/dxIEr6G0no #ITAENG #Euro2020Final #bbceuro2020 pic.twitter.com/hVr6ogHJzA
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 11, 2021