The 55 year old monkey on English soccer’s back is stubbornly still there after another agonizing penalty shootout loss this time against the Azzurri. Luke Shaw’s second minute goal came way too soon it seems. The Italians eased back into the game pulling a string of passes as England retreated into defensive mode. Was it a good idea for Southgate to bank on a one goal lead to win a major final? Yes and No. Yes in terms of a one goal margin being enough to win in 5 of the last 6 Euro finals. No in terms of Italy being able to score in each of the matches they have played so far in the tournament. Emerson, the Chelsea left back really came of age in this match. Kyle Walker as the match went on couldn’t make forays into the Italy half to keep the Brazilian born Italian in check. England won’t like this, but the best team won the trophy in the end. After scoring the goal they did only make Donnarumma work only once.
Kane again was the most impressive, drawing fouls from the Italians after dropping deep into midfield. Bonucci’s equalizer had elements of good fortune, the defender latching onto the rebound after the ball hit the post. Both teams had their best penalty takers on the bench so there was a flurry of subs in the extra time period. Disappointingly the big players for England did not volunteer to take the five allotted spot kicks. I expected Henderson, Grealish and Sterling to be among them. Instead they went for a penalty kick line up with an average age of just 23.8 years. Cool heads and experience was needed. If Jorginho who normally doesn’t miss for Chelsea could miss in such high pressure moments, how the hell can you expect a 19 year old who hardly takes them at club level to? Congrats to Italy well deserved victory. The twin towers of Bonucci and Chiellini bow out on a high. Will England get more chances to win a trophy in the future? Absolutely they have a young talented squad who will learn from this. But they have to learn to hold on to leads when they take them early and manage the game better.