England’s dreams of a win in a major international tournament in 55 years ended in an agonising heartbreak after they were defeated by Italy in a penalty shootout. Gareth Southgate’s team failed to convert their last three spot-kicks to hand Italy the title.
Despite taking an early lead in the game through Luke Shaw, England were far from comfortable in the match as Bonucci equalised in the second half to take the game into extra-time. As the game looked destined to a penalty shootout, Southgate decided to bring on Rashford and Sancho to bolster their scoring chances.
However, both the substitutes failed to convert their spot-kicks, leaving the teenager Saka in a pressure situation. Player of the tournament, Donnarumma saved the Arsenal forward’s penalty with relative ease to win the tournament for Italy.
Speaking to talksport, former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho questioned the decision to allow Saka take the final penalty. He added “In this situation, where was Raheem Sterling? Where was John Stones? ‘Where was Luke Shaw? Why didn’t Jordan Henderson or Kyle Walker stay on the pitch?“
“I think it’s too much for a kid to have everything on his shoulders in this moment, but I don’t know, I have to ask that question to Gareth because many times what happens is that players who should be there are not there, players who should be there, they run away from the responsibility.”
“And because I feel Gareth is such an honest guy and is so protective of his players, I don’t believe Gareth would ever say if “Player A or Player B” ran away or hid or said they were not ready to take one.”
“In reality it’s very, very hard for Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to come and take a penalty after one touch on the ball. But for Saka to have the destiny of a country on his shoulders… I think it’s too much.”
“We can speak about the previous days and how they were amazing at taking penalties, but the problem with penalties is it’s one thing is to take one in training and one thing to take in a match, and for those situations there is no way to train them properly because you can’t train with the real pressure, it’s something you only feel in that moment.”
“Poor Saka, I just feel very sorry for him.”
Source: Daily Mail