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Soccer-Spot-kicks haunt Southgate again as England pay the penalty

LONDON: Gareth Southgate famously tried to deal with the embarrassment of missing a crucial penalty at Euro 96 by doing a pizza commercial with a bag over his head, but it appears he did not learn too many shootout lessons in the intervening 25 years.

With his side locked at 1-1 against Italy after 120 minutes of the Euro 2020 final, the game was decided from the penalty spot and three of Southgate's players missed to gift the title to the Italians.

"It's down to me. I decided on the penalty-takers based on what we've done in training, and nobody is on their own. We've won together as a team ... in terms of the penalties it's my call, it totally rests with me," Southgate told the BBC.

With the clock ticking up towards 120 minutes, the England manager brought on 23-year-old Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho (21). Both took kicks in the shootout, with Rashford hitting the post and Sancho's penalty saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

With England needing to score to stay alive, 19-year-old Bukayo Saka was called on to take what proved to be the final spot-kick, Donnarumma saving again to secure the trophy for Italy 3-2 on penalties.

"We were well prepared and we started it well, unfortunately we weren't able to convert tonight. They (the players) can't look at themselves in terms of how they practise (penalties), because they couldn't have done that any more or any better," Southgate said.

Striker Harry Kane, who hammered home England's first spot- kick, was blunt in his assessment.

"Penalties is penalties. We went through a process. The boys did everything they could, it just wasn't our night," he said.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: Reuters


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