Alan Shearer has taken aim at Harry Kane’s performance, pointing to the fact he didn’t have one touch in the Italy box for the entirety of the Euro 2020 final.
England’s first major tournament final since 1966 ended in familiar fashion as the Three Lions suffered penalty heartache following a 1-1 draw after extra time.
Gareth Southgate’s side got off to the perfect start at Wembley, with Luke Shaw firing home a Kieran Trippier cross after less than two minutes.
Kane had plenty of joy during that first-half, dropping deep and dictating play, regularly finding one of England’s two advanced wing-backs.
But as the game went on – and Italy asserted their dominance – Kane’s influence on proceedings waned.
The Azzurri grabbed an equaliser in the second half, when Leonardo Bonucci scrambled home following a brilliant Jordan Pickford save.
Italy dominated much of the rest of normal time, with England happy to take the game to an additional 30 minutes.
The pattern didn’t change too much in extra-time and the game was settled on penalties.
Kane lashed home his penalty, England’s first, and when Pickford saved from Andrea Belotti, the hosts were daring to dream.
But misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka consigned England to defeat and ensured their wait for a trophy will go on for at least another 18 months.
And following the defeat, Shearer suggested that Kane didn’t get the balance right between dropping deep and still offering goal threat, failing to register a single shot on goal in the 120 minutes of action.
“Harry Kane, There’s a balance when you’re playing as a forward,” Shearer told BBC. “In the first half he was causing them problems because he was dropping deep, but he didn’t have one touch in the 18-yard box for the whole game.
“It’s been a really tough night for him.”
Instead of placing the blame at any players’ feet, Southgate opted to look towards Italy’s success while also taking responsibility for the shootout defeat.
“We prepared as well as we could for the (penalty shootout), that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kick,” he told ITV Sport.
“It was very tight, Italy showed they’re the outstanding side that they are and why they’re 30 games unbeaten.
“Our players have done themselves proud, every one of them has been exceptional. It’s the first time we’ve got to a final, and we’re unbelievably disappointed not to go that one step further.”