Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for England’s failure from the penalty kicks spot as Italy secured Euro 2020 glory at Wembley on Sunday.
Following a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes, after Leonardo Bonucci had cancelled out Luke Shaw’s second-minute opener, it was a familiar spot-kick outcome for the Three Lions.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed from the penalty kicks spot, with Jordan Pickford saving two Italian penalty kicks.
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“We prepared as well as we could for that and that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kicks,” Southgate said.
“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 a team.”
On selecting Saka to take the fifth penalty kick and also making very late substitutions to get more takers on, Southgate added: “That’s my decision to give him that penalty kick.
“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. (It’s) 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.”
Captain Harry Kane was proud of the effort of the team.
He said: “The players couldn’t have given more. Penalty kicks obviously are the worst thing in the world when you lose. It wasn’t our night.
“But it’s been a fantastic tournament and we should be proud, hold our heads up high.
“Of course it’s going to hurt for a while but we are on the right track and hopefully we can progress from this next year.”
Kane offered words of encouragement for the three players who missed penalty kicks in the shoot-out.
“You have got to hold your heads up high. It’s been a fantastic tournament.
“Anyone can miss a penalty kick. We win together, we lose together. We will learn and these boys will grow from it.
“It will give us more motivation to do well in the FIFA World Cup next year.
“We should be extremely proud of what we have achieved. It will probably hurt for the rest of our careers, but that is football.
“We have progressed well from Russia (2018 FIFA World Cup). Now it is about continuing. We have a great squad with loads of good young players.”(dpa/NAN)