‘It’s my fault and it TOTALLY rests on me’: Gareth Southgate takes responsibility for choosing England penalty-takers after heartbreaking Euro 2020 final loss to Italy, with Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford all missing
- READ: England suffer heartbreak in Euro 2020 final after shootout loss to Italy
- Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored the first two penalties for England
- But Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed in tough defeat
- And Three Lions boss Southgate admitted he picked the five takers himself
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Gareth Southgate shouldered the blame for England’s agonising shootout loss to Italy on Sunday after youngsters Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed penalties to leave the nation heartbroken.
Having taken a second-minute lead courtesy of Luke Shaw, England were forced into a nerve-wracking shootout when Leonardo Bonucci levelled.
Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored England’s first two penalties — but Rashford and Sancho failed to convert, before Saka saw his decisive spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.
England boss Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for choosing the side’s penalty takers
Bukayo Saka (centre), plus Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, failed from the spot
All three are under 24, which drew questions over whether they should have been selected as takers, and Southgate deflected any criticism from the trio who missed.
He said: ‘That is my responsibility. I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. They have been tight throughout and that’s how it needs to stay.
‘It is my decision to give (Saka) that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to. Marcus and Jadon have been by far the best in the lead-in. It was a gamble (to bring them on), but if we gamble earlier we maybe lose the game in extra time.’
Southgate felt his side’s lack of composure on the ball was their major problem in the second half, when Italy came back into the match. ‘We did start well,’ said Southgate. ‘Our system worked really well against theirs. They were bound to have a spell where they came into the game.
‘We didn’t keep the ball well enough in that initial period in the second half. It was our lack of composure in possession that turned the game.
But the Three Lions manager admitted that it was his decision to choose the penalty takers
‘It’s hard to reflect, as the disappointment is enormous for all of us. This group of players have done us proud and the nation has got behind them. Tonight’s going to burst the balloon but I hope everyone remembers what this group has given them.
‘We’ve given everybody some fantastic nights. We wanted to do one more and we were so close to doing that. It’s hard to put it into words.’ Captain Harry Kane insisted that his team-mates had nothing left to offer after a gruelling 120 minutes.
‘The boys couldn’t give more. Penalties are the worst feeling in the world when you lose,’ he said.
‘It was a fantastic tournament. We should be proud, but of course it’s going to hurt for a while. We’re on the right track, we’re building, and hopefully we can progress from here.
‘We were up against a very good side. Obviously we got off to the perfect start. Maybe we dropped a little bit deep. Sometimes when you score early it’s easy to try to soak up pressure and hold on to that, and that’s what happened.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy eventually won the Euro 2020 final 3-2 on penalties at Wembley
‘They had a lot of the ball, a lot of possession. But to be fair we looked fairly in control, they didn’t create too many chances. They got the goal from a set-piece and after that it’s probably 50-50.
‘(In the penalties) we went through our processes, the boys did everything they could. It just wasn’t our night.’
Maguire absolved anyone of blame, adding: ‘We don’t put any blame on anyone. We worked tirelessly in training.
‘They have one of the best ‘keepers in the world (Gianluigi Donnarumma) and he’s the player of the tournament which he probably deserves. The pressure is as big as you feel.
‘We keep improving and that is what we need to do. We got to the semi-final in Russia, we got to the final here. We felt we had enough tools to win.’
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