Southgate suggests two England players were missing from list of penalty takers

England boss Gareth Southgate was left to lament the fact that two of his preferred penalty takers were not on the pitch to help England in their shootout defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all saw their efforts from the spot saved by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on Sunday evening, with Italy emerging as 3-2 winners in the shootout after a 1-1 draw.

Jordan Pickford was successful in saving attempts from Italy’s Andrea Belotti and Jorginho, but ultimately it was Saka’s failure from the spot which proved crucial.

All three of the players who missed for England had come on as substitutes in the game, with Rashford and Sancho only entering in the final minute of extra-time in order to then take a penalty.

Southgate had replaced Kieran Trippier with Saka and Declan Rice with Jordan Henderson during the 90 minutes as England reacted to Leonardo Bonucci’s equaliser, and he suggested that the withdrawn pair would have been on his preferred list of takers.

Jadon Sancho was one of the England players who saw his penalty saved

“What they have to know is none of them are on their own – we win and lose as a team,” Southgate said of the players who missed.

“The penalty takers are my call. We’ve worked on them in training, that’s my decision, that’s not down to the players.

“Tonight it hasn’t gone for us but we know they were the best takers we had left on the pitch.

“We tried to get those players on the pitch, we already had to take a couple off during the game itself.

“Of course, it’s going to be heartbreaking for the boys but they are not to blame for that, that’s my call as a coach.”

Meanwhile Italy boss Roberto Mancini revelled in the win having previously been on the wrong end of shootouts.

“I was very fortunate to play in a great side in 1990 and a terrific under-21 team in 1988,” he said.

“Despite the fact we were the best team, we didn’t win it and lost both times on penalties.

Southgate was left to lament the loss
Southgate was left to lament the loss

“It was the emotion which happens after achieving something incredible. It was the emotion of seeing the guys celebrate and the fans in the stands,” he said.

“Seeing everything we have managed to create, all of the hard work we have put in over the last three years, but specifically the last 50 days which have been very hard.

“It’s the fact we have been able to forge this team spirit over the last 50 days, they have really created something which can never be separated going forward. They will always be synonymous with this triumph.”

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