England Report Cards:
Donnarumma crushes English dreams in penalty shootout win

England’s bouncebackability is now under the microscope. Like in 2018, England must learn from defeat.

Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate and his Three Lions, England came down on the losing side of a penalty shootout against Italy in the EURO 2020 final.

After two minutes of play, football looked like it might just come home. Luke Shaw peeled into space at the far post as Kieran Trippier raced down the right, with Shaw hammering Trippier’s looping cross into Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net (albeit via the post).

For a time afterwards, England dominated. Southgate’s decision to switch to a back-three worked in the opening exchanges, with Harry Kane dropping into midfield to devastating effect.

However, the flow of the game quickly turned. On 67 minutes, Italy struck through Leonardo Bouncci, who smashed the ball into Jordan Pickford’s net from close range following an Italian corner. There was only going to be one winner after that.

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Roberto Mancini’s side controlled the second-half and both 15-minute periods of extra-time. England’s front three (Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, and Kane) combined for 0.00 xG on the night, a failure that ultimately allowed Donnarumma to win the European Championship for the Azzurri.

Pickford twice thwarted Italy in the shootout – but it wasn’t enough. Kane scored; Harry Maguire did, too. And then heartbreak struck. First, Marcus Rashford dragged his shot wide. Next, Donnarumma stopped Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka from finding the net.

Heartbreak for England; jubilation for Italy.

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Now, to the player ratings.

Player of the Match:

Jordan Pickford: Before saving Jorginho’s potentially decisive spot-kick, Jordan Pickford uttered “you’ve got this, you’ve got this” to himself. At the very least, Pickford’s self-confidence (at a time when his teammates had crumbled under the spotlight) was something to be admired.

However, there was much more to the Everton goalkeeper’s performance against Italy. Pickford outperformed his post-shot xG clip, completed all of his short and medium-length passes, and made six important saves.

It is incredibly harsh on a goalkeeper to lose a penalty shootout after making two saves. Had England won, Pickford may well have been awarded UEFA’s Player of the Tournament award. He was that good at EURO 2020 – even in the final.


Harry Maguire: It is remarkable to think that Harry Maguire’s inclusion in the England squad was initially criticised due to his lack of match fitness. Since then, the Manchester United centre-back has been a rock at the back for England.

His play through 120 minutes was impressive, with his well-hit penalty kick putting the cherry on top of an accomplished personal display.

Luke Shaw: In discussions about Luke Shaw, we often refer to his relationship with Jose Mourinho. In this instance, then, it is appropriate to take note of what the former Manchester United head coach had to say about Shaw’s performance against the Italians.

“People think I don’t like Luke Shaw,” Mourinho told TalkSPORT on Monday, “I have to say: amazing tournament, fantastic final, no defensive mistakes, very solid."

The stats tell a similar tale.

Of his England teammates, Shaw finished the tournament leading in the following metrics:

  • 79 passes in the final third  
  • 41 passes played into the box  
  • 10 chances created  
  • 4 goal contributions
  • 4 big chances created  
  • 3 assists  
  • 2.01 xA  



Declan Rice: Well, West Ham’s pseudo-captain saved his best ‘til last. Declan Rice was superb against Italy, providing England’s back three with excellent coverage until he was substituted in the second half.

Before the break, Rice made three successful take-ons, completed 81 percent of his passes, and made two vital tackles in midfield. However, the 22-year-old has had a hand in Bonucci’s goal – Rice’s marking was not up to scratch.

Kalvin Phillips: Relentless in central midfield, Kalvin Phillips covered more ground than any of his teammates in the final.

Kieran Trippier: It is telling that England were much weaker in defence after Kieran Trippier was substituted in the second half. The Atletico Madrid full-back completely stifled Emerson before the interval and provided a delicious cross for England’s goal.


John Stones: For a player maligned for his mistake proneness, John Stones emerged as Mr Reliable for the Three Lions at EURO 2020. Before the break, Stones made four clearances and won all of his aerial duels – forcing Roberto Mancini to sub Ciro Immobile as a result.

Kyle Walker: With Italy rarely breaking behind England’s defence, Kyle Walker’s ability to make recovery runs was rarely called upon in the final. Despite that, Walker upheld his defensive record versus Italy, playing a key shut-down role on Lorenzo Insigne before Mancini repositioned him as a centre-forward.    


Jack Grealish: Aston Villa’s captain only spent 20 minutes on the pitch in the final – but he had a reasonable impact anyway. Jack Grealish was bright and added energy to England’s attack; it just wasn’t enough.


Jordan Henderson: Brought on to give England more composure in possession, Jordan Henderson was ineffectual against Italy.

Bukayo Saka: Asked to play right wing-back in the closing exchanges, Bukayo Saka struggled to catch up with the pace of the game on Sunday evening. As a whole, the Hale End product had a wonderful tournament; he will bounce back from his penalty heartbreak.


Harry Kane: Sublime in the opening minutes, Harry Kane quickly regressed against Italy. Kane’s only shot came in the penalty shootout. Enough said?

Raheem Sterling: Like Kane, Raheem Sterling struggled to make his mark against Italy. In extra-time, it looked as though the 26-year-old was running on fumes. Despite his performance in the final, Sterling remains one of England’s players of the tournament.

Mason Mount: Deployed on the flank, Mason Mount was entirely anonymous against Italy.

Nothing to See:

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho: Penalties, who would take them? Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were introduced to proceedings in the 120th-minute so that they could take a spot-kick; neither scored. Like Saka, they will bounce back.

Team Report:

England’s 55 years of hurt continue. And now questions will be asked about Gareth Southgate’s suitability to remain as the Three Lions’ head coach.

Before diving into the discussion, let’s hear from the man himself. This is what Southgate said about his plans for the future the morning after England’s defeat:

I don't want to commit to anything longer than I should and I don't want to outstay my welcome so all of those things need consideration. I want to take the team to Qatar, I feel we have made progress over the four years, we have had a fourth, a third and a second-placed finish and that is as good as anyone.
I don't think now is an appropriate time to think about anything. We have got to qualify for Qatar, but I need some time to go away and watch the game and reflect on the whole tournament, I need a rest. It is an amazing experience, but to lead your country in these tournaments takes its toll and I need a break now.

Introspective as ever, Southgate sounds like he will fall on his sword if England fail to make an impact at the World Cup next year. For now, he’s going nowhere; so, let’s discuss his impact on Sunday’s finale.

England dominated the opening exchanges. Harry Kane’s movement caused real issues for Italy, who were bamboozled in the face of Southgate’s revised system.

However, England's plan stopped working after half an hour. Jorginho came into the game as Kane exited it.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were rarely troubled because Roberto Mancini modified Italy’s press to prevent England from progressing the ball. Ultimately, the Three Lions fell flat once Italy exerted themselves on the final.

The less said about England's shootout loss the better. History is unlikely to judge Southgate kindly for asking Bukayo Saka to take the fifth penalty.

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However, there are silver linings.

The Three Lions entered EURO 2020 as the tournament’s youngest squad and still went where no England team had gone before; they will grow, they will improve. Southgate and his players have so much to be proud of.

Now, England’s bouncebackability is under the microscope. Like in 2018, England must learn from defeat.

The squad’s collective identity suggests that they will.