After Sunday night’s heartbreak, it’s time to reflect on what was an incredible European Championships.
On Sunday 11th July 2021 Italy were crowned champions of Europe for a second time after defeating England on penalties. Italy and England were by far the outstanding performers throughout the tournament and were worthy finalists.
England opened the scoring early on with a brilliant finish from Luke Shaw and dominated most of the first half. After the break, the Italians came out a completely different team and midway through the second half their dominance was rewarded as Bonucci put them level.
England, for the remainder of the second half and extra time, failed to trouble the Italians and looked happy to take it to penalties. To England’s detriment, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed to score their penalties and it was Italy who were the ones celebrating long into the night.
Why England should be proud:
At the start of this tournament, even the most optimistic England fan would not have predicted us to make it to the final. With teams like France, Italy, Belgium and some others looking so strong, many predicted this to be a very difficult summer for Southgate’s men.
But, by just conceding two goals throughout the entire tournament and playing some of the best football we have seen England play in decades, Southgate took this young side to the Country’s first final in 55 years.
For many of us, this is something we simply have not witnessed before. Over the past few weeks, the country has united and been able to enjoy historical moments with the people they are closest to. That is down to the brilliant display from this England side.
It may not have come home, but this is a tournament that will be spoken about for many years to come.
Stars of the tournament:
Yesterday, UEFA released its official team of the tournament. The team included five Italian players and three English players.
Donnarumma was announced as the player of the tournament after his penalty saving heroics against England.
The likes of Patrik Schick, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luke Shaw were all unlucky to miss out of the team after all having an outstanding summer.
Other Euro 2020 accolades:
The Golden Boot went to Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 5 goals in just 4 games.
Jordon Pickford won the Golden Glove award with an impressive 5 clean sheets.
No one managed to top Patrik Schick’s screamer against Scotland in the group stages, as he claimed the Goal of the Tournament prize.
The 18-year-old Spanish maestro, Pedri, picked up the Young Player of the Tournament award after consistently impressing throughout the summer. The Spanish manager, Luis Enrique, heaped praise on the youngster after the tournament by saying, “I’ve never seen anything like that, not even Andres Iniesta.”
A sad end to a brilliant tournament:
After England’s defeat on Sunday night, some people chose to take to the streets and to social media, to spread hate towards some of the England players.
The likes of Saka, Rashford and Sancho all received horrific online abuse after their penalty misses. Rashford’s mural was also defaced just hours after the defeat to Italy.
The people spreading this hate and violence have no place in our game and more must be done to stop this from continuing.
Here is how twitter reacted:
Over one million people have now signed a petition to get racists’ permanently banned from all football matches. The support towards the players that were abused after the final has been incredible and is hopefully the start of change within football.
England did us proud.