Video Shows 'Gareth Southgate Cost England The Euros By Subbing Declan Rice' In Final - And Italy Players Agree
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England were on course to end 55 years of hurt on home turf at Wembley after going 1-0 up early on in the final through Luke Shaw.
Italy levelled in the 67th minute through Leonardo Bonucci and the game went all the way to penalties, where the Azzurri triumphed after costly misses from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka from the spot.
With Italy dominating the ball throughout, Rice had an important role of screening the back four and driving England forward from midfield.
He churned in a superb performance but was replaced in the 74th minute by Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson.
And nearly a year on, England supporters feel as though that was the moment where the game went away from the Three Lions:
True talk. Was the best player on the pitch in the first half. https://t.co/PUXRtimmxu— Angry Bilic #GSBOUT (@AngryBilic) June 23, 2022
This. I was watching Rice pull an all timer but Southgate’s obsession with Jordan Henderson ruined England’s best chance at a trophy. https://t.co/XEc1LOs9Eb— Moon⚽️ (@szmopb) June 23, 2022
Facts. Was the best player on the pitch by a mile. Southgate is a great bloke but a terrible manager. https://t.co/aps448Cufu— Sam Harris (@samuelmharris) June 23, 2022
Englands best player on the night. Don’t know why Henderson came on https://t.co/idYPPKxGv1— Toni (@cfctoni_) June 23, 2022
Southgate needs the sack man rice was clearly the best player on the pitch and had a certain Italian in a headlock the whole game loll https://t.co/hDyMUM7VTn— . (@Delvinnit) June 23, 2022
Said this soon as I left ground. Was best player on pitch especially first half https://t.co/TlV6xsdbgV— Jamie🦉🏴 (@Furny94) June 22, 2022
I dont understand the sub at all,hes doing good in the middle and its the last game of the tournament with him not showing any sign of tiredness or injury....ruined the dynamic and England cant get a proper footing after the equalizer https://t.co/nhgfVPBUkn— Senbonzakura~ (@Cman_koba) June 22, 2022
Will never ever respect Southgate. He must have been watching a different game. Rice was on a different level that night. https://t.co/xS50f5q7Gu— E (@LedZepEdd) June 22, 2022
While we don't know the reasons Southgate made the call, we do know that Italy players were in disbelief that Rice came off and thought he must have been injured.
Italy legend Gianfranco Zola revealed a conversation he had with Italy's back-up goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu about Rice.
"Look, this summer I was talking to (Salvatore) Sirigu who was the (Italy) second goalkeeper," Zola said on BT Sport.
“He was on the bench and he said to me – because we had a chat about the final – We couldn’t believe when he (Rice) came off because we thought he was the best player they had, immediately we thought he was injured or a problem like that’.
“They were very pleased when he came off.”
Southgate is far from flavour of the month at the moment following a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Hungary in the UEFA Nations League.
The heavy loss at Molineux was the worst for 12 years and saw fans chant, You don't know what you're doing" at Southgate.
England have now gone over SIX hours without scoring a goal from open play and will look to change that against Italy when they return to action on 23 September in Milan.