For the first time since 1966 England are in the final of a major tournament as they face Italy in tonight’s Euro 2020 showpiece at Wembley.
Gareth Southgate’s side have the nation behind them after a terrific run, with their extra-time victory over Denmark on Wednesday night seeing the Three Lions into the final of a European Championship for the first time ever.
The likes of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have been among the star players at the tournament, while a solid defence has been breached just once – by Mikkel Damsgaard’s free-kick – in six matches.
Italy are looking to win the Euros for the first time since 1968 and victory would cap a remarkable turnaround in fortunes under Roberto Mancini after the humiliation of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Mancini’s men have impressed throughout the tournament, winning all three of their group games at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, but needed a penalty shootout to overcome an improving Spain in the semi-final.
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Southgate on the penalties
The England manager has been speaking to the BBC…
Southgate’s message to Saka: “That it is down to me. I decided on the penalty takers based on what we had done in training and nobody is on their own. We have won together as a team and it is absolutely on all of us in terms of not being able to win the game tonight.In terms of the penalties, that is my call and totally rests with me.”
How confident were you when it went to penalties… “We were well prepared and started well. Unfortunately the guys were not able to convert tonight. They cannot look at themselves in terms of how they practiced because they could not have done any more or any better.”
Look forward to Qatar
England captain Harry Kane speaking to the BBC…
“Couldn’t have given more, boys couldn’t have give more. Pens are the worst feeling in the world when you lose. We had a fantastic tournament we should hold our heads up high. It’s going to hurt, but we’re progressing and we can build on this next year.
“The boys done everything they could, it just wasn’t our night.
“You’ve got to hold your heads up high. Fantastic tournament. Anyone can miss a penalty. You win together, lose together. It will give us more motivation to do more in the World Cup next year. We should be extremely proud as a group of what we have achieved. We progressed well from Russia and now we need to continue that.”
The crowning moment
Italy lift the trophy at Wembley
Chiellini lifts the trophy and marches over to his teammates and manager to lift it at Wembley.
Southgate and his players head up to collect their silver medals. Not the colour they wanted, but my what a ride they’ve given everyone across the country this summer.
Gianluigi Donnarumma is named player of the tournament. A goalkeeper? Player of the tournament? Not sure.
Italy begin the celebrations
A huge night for Roberto Mancini’s side.
Donnarumma is big and brilliant. But Sancho and Saka did help him with the penalties.