Gareth Southgate takes blame for Bukayo Saka’s penalty miss in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy

Italy v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Final

Bukayo Saka was in tears after his penalty was saved in the penalty shootout (Picture: Getty)

Gareth Southgate jumped to the defence of Bukayo Saka after England’s crushing Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy and took full responsibility for the youngster’s missed spot-kick in the shootout, as well as those from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

Roberto Mancini’s victorious Italy team ensured England’s 55-year wait for major silverware continued after Sunday evening’s showpiece was decided via a dreaded penalty competition at Wembley.

The Three Lions got off to the dream start as Luke Shaw fired the hosts in front with the fastest ever goal in the final of a European Championship just one minute and 57 seconds into the game.

But veteran Italy centre-back Leonardo Bonucci scrambled the ball home midway through the second half to level before the visitors came through extra time and prevailed nine years on from their miserable 4-0 defeat to Spain in the 2012 final.


Donnarumma leapt to his left to deny Saka’s spot-kick (Picture: Getty)

Saka, the one player to drop out from England’s semi-final win over Denmark, was typically energetic as he was introduced shortly after Bonucci’s equaliser and caused problems for Italy’s tiring defence as the match went beyond 90 minutes.

But the 19-year-old Arsenal attacker broke down in tears after his decisive penalty was saved by Italy’s hero on the night, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and had to be consoled by his England team-mates and Southgate on the pitch.

‘It’s down to me, I decided on the penalty takers based on what we’ve done in training and nobody is on their own,’ Southgate told BBC Sport in an emotional post-match interview.

‘We’ve won together as a team and it’s absolutely on all of us in terms of not being able to win the game tonight but in terms of the penalties that’s my call and it totally rests with me.

‘We were well prepared and started it well. Unfortunately the guys couldn’t convert tonight.

‘They can’t look at themselves in terms of how they practiced because they couldn’t have done that any more or any better.’

Saka’s England colleagues tried to comfort him after the miss (Picture: Getty)

Southgate insisted he and the team had done everything possible to ensure success in preparation for a potential penalty shootout and said the order chosen was his call.

‘That’s my decision to give him that penalty and that’s totally my responsibility,’ he told ITV’s Gabriel Clarke.

‘It’s not him or Marcus or Jadon, we work together, we worked through them in training.

‘That was the order that we came to but that’s my call as the coach.’

Italy secured their second European Championship victory after winning the tournament back in 1968 (Picture: Getty)

Asked whether Sancho and Rashford may have been ‘a little bit cold’ after being introduced so late in extra time, Southgate replied: ‘It’s always the risk that you run but they’ve been by far the best in the lead-up.

‘To get those attacking players on you have to do it late so it was a gamble.

‘But if we gambled earlier we maybe lose the game in extra time anyway.’

Arsenal’s official Twitter account showed their support for Saka in the aftermath of England’s defeat in the shootout, stating they would ‘always be proud’ of the teenager.

‘Football can be so cruel,’ the tweet read.

‘But for your personality. For your character. For your bravery… We’ll always be proud of you.

‘And we can’t wait to have you back with us, @BukayoSaka87.’

MORE : ‘It’s coming to Rome!’ – Leonardo Bonucci trolls England after Italy win Euro 2020 on penalties

MORE : England players take off runners-up medals after Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy

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