England have lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy, extending the Three Lions’ 55 years of hurt with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missing from 12 yards like manager Gareth Southgate in 1996.
Despite two saves by Jordan Pickford, England missed three consecutive penalties crowning Italy champions and breaking hearts in front of 60,000 fans at Wembley.
Nineteen-year-old Saka was consoled by Southgate as penalties came back to haunt the manager 25 years after his miss in the semi-finals of the same tournament.
In a bitter irony it was the substituted penalty specialists Rashford and Sancho who failed to score before Saka who broke down in tears.
Prince George looked shattered as William and Kate comforted him after a first half that had the royal box rocking.
But after Luke Shaw’s stunning early goal – the fastest ever in a European final – England’s nerves were shot to pieces as the Italians ran them ragged in the second half.
They were dealt a hammer blow on the 67th minute as Leonardo Bonucci equalised with a scrappy goal, leaving the Three Lions hanging on until extra time.
A frantic two periods of extra time followed, with both sides capable of seizing victory, before the final whistle and the dreaded spot kicks.
Boris Johnson said England ‘played like heroes’, adding: ‘They have done the nation proud and deserve great credit.’
But tears flowed along Wembley way after the heartbreaking finish to go along with the despair of thousands of fans who ended up locked out of the stadium.
Two schoolboys were hurried along in tears and held their father’s hands. The man told MailOnline: ‘It’s going to take some work to be lifting these boys. They had so much hope just like the rest of the country. But once again we just crashed at the last moment. Are we ever going to win anything?’
Delia Smith told MailOnline as she left: ‘There is a a lot to be hopeful for. We should be very proud of the team.’
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SOURCE: Daily Mail