England loses on Penalties. We’ve heard it before.
This game was lost by Gareth Southgate though. After England went up 1-0, they sat back. Didn’t trouble Italy at all, and let Italy take charge. No way were England going to be able to hold up for 85 minutes of pressure from the Italians. Once Italy tied the game up, England decided to go at it a bit. BUT, Southgate made dumb subs and didn’t take full advantage of what he had at his disposal. All that is beside the point, the main point I want to talk about today is the penalty kick lineup that Gareth Southgate and his England staff put out.
I get Harry Kane taking the first penalty. You always want a strong penalty taker for the first one. It sets the tone for the rest of the team. Harry did well and put the ball into the side netting. Beautifully taken. Having Harry Maguire take the second penalty for England seemed a bit odd to me. But, it’s a major tournament, he’s a leader and captain of the team, so yup, let’s do it. He dispatched his penalty 100 times better than I thought he would. Full credit to Harry Maguire for putting it top shelf. No goalie in the world is going to save that.
Next steps up Marcus Rashford. 23 years old, forward, knows how to strike a ball. Ok, I’m fine with this. His penalty was absolutely crap. Stutter stepping to the ball, trying to outwit the goalie. Dammit, what happened to good old pick your spot and fucking hit it? This was a really poor attempt from Rashford. I expected better.
Next up for England, 21-year-old Jadon Sancho. What in the hell? He’s barely played in the tournament, now you want him to take the 4th penalty in the final? Ok, listen, they’ve practiced penalties and he must be really good at them. Let’s go with it…..NOPE. Not good. Saved very easily. Dammit, Southgate. Your goalie is playing out of his skin in this penalty shoot out and you’re fucking it up for us.
Now, the 5th and final penalty taker needs to be strong and confident. So, who does Gareth Southgate put up there? 19-year-old Bukayo Saka! What in the actual fuck is happening right now.
Saka has never taken a penalty for his club side, Arsenal, but was given the responsibility of taking the all-important fifth kick in the shootout!?!?!
Sterling was on the field, Grealish was on the field, Calvin Phillips was on the field, Luke shaw was on the field. So why in the hell were we letting a 19-year-old kid who has NEVER taken a penalty before, take the 5th and decisive penalty? This lineup that the England staff choose was terrible. The loss rests at Gareth Southgate feet.
Not much more I can say. Congrats to Italy who played a wonderful Euro2020 tournament and fully deserved the win. Congrats.