Euro 2020, so close, but it’s penalty heartbreak for England!

Euro 2020: Penalty Heartbreak For England

After reaching their first major tournament final in my lifetime, England’s hopes were dashed by another penalty shootout at Wembley, and the English will have to hark back to 1966 for the last major trophy.

Honestly, after England was embarrassed by part-timers Iceland at the Euro 2016 tournament, I have not followed the English national football team, so much so, that I didn’t even realize that England made it to the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, and I’d probably had missed Euro 2020 if it was not for one of the administrators on an F1 forum I am a moderator on posting asking who was watching the tournament.

I’m not going to blame the three penalty takers who missed, the blame has to go to Gareth Southgate, who, in my opinion, is too negative, being all too willing to sit on a single goal lead. I have maintained this stance since game one against Croatia, where I stated that a better team would punish England for sitting back and allowing their opponents to pass the ball and get into attacking positions.

And my fear came to fruition today, Luke Shaw opened the scoring for the English just before the 2-minute mark, then promptly fell back, inviting the Italians forward, allowing them space to pass the ball, which is shown in the match stats, the Italians had 19 shots on goal, compared to England’s six, 66% of the possession went to Italy, the stats don’t lie. On balance, Italy deserved the win, and frankly, Jordan Pickford kept England in the game making some excellent saves during the 90 minutes of regular time.

In addition to England’s negative mentality, Southgate was tactically poor, why wait so long to bring Jack Grealish on? as soon as he was brought on, England were playing much more positively, and on the attack, limiting Italy’s time on the ball. The bottom line here is that teams like Italy will find the back of the net, given half a chance. Maybe because England had a relatively easy run to the final, with Denmark being the stiffest competition, and England just scraped through that match with a dubious penalty call.

Playing for a 1—0 win is never a good idea, England need to push for a second while on the ascendency, and not give their opponents time to regroup, and come back at them. England’s strength is when on the attack, they create chances and goals when pushing forward, especially on the break, but Southgate’s mentality is not to push for a second or third goal, hoping his team can keep a clean sheet.

That said, all credit to Italy, to go a goal down inside 2 minutes, keeping their heads up, to keep pushing, to equalize in the second half, WELL DONE ITALY, EURO 2020 CHAMPIONS!

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