Southgate bears full brunt of England agony, explaining why penalty ‘gamble’ did not work

Gareth Southgate, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane Italy v England Euro 2020

England manager Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for the Three Lions’ agonising penalty shootout loss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.

Southgate’s men had shown why they were one of the best nations in the tournament for some time. Furthermore, they got off to a dream start in the final when Luke Shaw scored inside two minutes. However, Italy settled and eventually dominated. In the end, though, the match went to penalties.

England have had torrid luck from 12 yards in major tournaments. Indeed, Southgate missed the spot-kick which cost his country the Euro 96 semi-final.

This time, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed. Despite Jordan Pickford saving two Italy penalties, Roberto Mancini’s men won 3-2.

Speaking after the match, Southgate took full responsibility and explained the reasoning for his “gamble”.

“We prepared as well as we could for that and that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kicks,” Southgate told ITV Sport.

“No-one is on their own in that situation. We decided to make the changes right at the end of the game and we win and lose together as team.”

On selecting Saka to take the fifth penalty and also making very late substitutions to get more takers on Southgate added: “That’s my decision to give him that penalty so it is totally my responsibility: it is not him, Marcus or Jadon.

“We worked on it in training and that’s the order we came to. My call as coach.

“It is always the risk you run but they have been by far the best and to get all those attacking players on you have to do it late.

“It was a gamble but if we gambled earlier we may have lost the game in extra-time any way.”

Former England international Frank Lampard insisted that Italy must take credit for their performance.

Southgate, meanwhile, went on to reveal his words to his players at full-time.

Southgate reveals England message


“At the moment the players are, understandably, really quiet,” the manager said.

“The Duke [of Cambridge] has been down to see them in the dressing room and has rightly thanked them for what they’ve done and been fulsome in his praise.

“I just said to them that we could have no recriminations. We win and lose together. Nobody is left out on their own and the calls for the penalties were mine.

“My decision. My decision to ask the players to take the penalties that they did.”

Southgate added: “They’ve got to walk away from here heads held high. They’ve done more than any other team in the last 50 or so years, so in terms of the players they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done.

“Tonight’s hard, of course, because to get so close… you know those opportunities in your life are incredibly rare but a credit to Italy. I think they’ve been outstanding the whole tournament.

“The way they used the ball tonight was a little bit better than us and I think they were strong enough in defence to stop us really creating anything consistently on their goal.”

England can now look forward to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.