Home Breaking News Blame me, Southgate speaks after England penalty loss

Blame me, Southgate speaks after England penalty loss

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England manager Gareth Southgate knows only too well the pain a penalty shootout can cause, and he was quick to console Bukayo Saka, then take responsibility, after the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy.

After Saka’s penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, the 19-year-old was understandably distraught – putting his head into his shirt – but he was quickly surrounded by team-mates who again displayed the strong bond that had been evident throughout the tournament.

As Saka fought back the tears, he was hugged by Southgate, whose mind must have turned back to his penalty heartbreak at Euro 96.

Twenty-five years on, he had seen Marcus Rashford hit a post and Jadon Sancho and Saka have their spot-kicks saved as Italy edged home 3-2 after a 1-1 draw.

“It is down to me,” said Southgate of the penalty misses.

“I decided on the penalty-takers based on what they have done in training.

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“Nobody is on their own. We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win this game.

“In terms of penalties, it is my call and it totally rests with me.”

Saka, like so many of England’s players, had played a big role in helping Southgate’s side become the first Three Lions squad to reach a major men’s final in 55 years.

He started and impressed as England overcame a significant historical hump by beating Germany in the last 16, and was again in the starting XI for the semi-final win against Denmark.

In that game, at 19 years and 305 days, he became the youngest Englishman to start a match at the semi-final stage or later of a major tournament and it was his cross that led to Simon Kjaer turning into his own net to give England the lead.

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After Sunday’s game, Southgate said no blame should be placed on any of his players.

“You cannot have any recriminations,” he said.

“They have done more than any other team in over 50 years.” BBC

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