Gareth Southgate has taken “responsibility” for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat which came as they were bested 3-2 on penalties by Italy.
After a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes – Leonardo Bonucci 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 spot, with Jordan Pickford saving two Italian penalties.
“We prepared as well as we could for that and that’s my responsibility, I chose the guys to take the kicks,” Southgate told ITV.
“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 team.”
On selecting Saka to take the fifth penalty and also making very late substitutions to get more takers on Southgate added to ITV: “That’s my decision to give him that penalty 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. 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 told the BBC: “The boys couldn’t have given more. Penalties are 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.”