England manager Gareth Southgate took the full blame for England's agonising loss in the Euro final against Italy, leaving the whole of England heartbroken. Having taken a second-minute lead courtesy of Luke Shaw, England were forced into extra time followed by a nervy penalty shootout as Leonardo Bonucci levelled on Sunday.
Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored England's first two penalties. But Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho failed to convert. Bukayo Saka's decisive spot-kick was saved by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, giving Italy the title at Wembley Stadium.
"They've been tight throughout and that's how it is today. In the end we weren't quite able to see the game through in the normal, regulation time. Italy showed what an absolutely outstanding side they are. But our players have done themselves proud. Every one of them has been exceptional. We're obviously unbelievably disappointed not to go that one step further," said Southgate to media after the match.
He took complete responsibility in giving the penalty kicks to Rashford, Sancho and Saka, all of which failed. "That is my responsibility. I chose the guys to take the kicks. I told the players that nobody is on their own in that situation. We win and lose together as a team. They have been tight throughout and that's how it needs to stay."
Southgate defended his decision to give penalty strikes to the three youngsters. "It is my decision to give (Saka) that penalty. That is totally my responsibility. It is not him or Marcus or Jadon. We worked through them in training. That is the order we came to. Marcus and Jadon have been by far the best in the lead-in. It was a gamble (to bring them on), but if we gamble earlier, we maybe could have lost the game in extra time."
The England manager opined that his team allowed Italy to make a comeback in the second half through ball possession. "We did start well. Our system worked really well against theirs. They were bound to have a spell where they came into the game. We didn't keep the ball well enough in that initial period in the second half. It was our lack of composure in possession that turned the game."