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Fans are not best pleased with Gareth Southgate's decision to let Bukayo Saka take the decisive penalty vs Italy.
England and Italy could not be separated after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes of action at Wembley and the Euro 2020 final went to penalties, where Italy won 4-2.
Andrea Belotti and Jorginho saw efforts saved by Jordan Pickford but it was Azzurri goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma who proved to be the hero when he denied Arsenal winger Saka.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who were both brought on late in extra time in preparation for penalties, missed from 12 yards.
And then the pressure penalty fell to Saka. Donnarumma guessed right and parried away his spot-kick to give Italy a sixth tournament victory.
Saka, who had been a key asset for England in this tournament, was in floods of tears and had to be consoled by teammates and staff.
And though Southgate has been praised for creating a team fans could be proud of and guiding the nation to a first final in 55 years, he came in for criticism for letting Saka step up in such a high-pressure scenario.
Here's some of the strong reaction on social media:
Southgate really let 19 year old Saka take England's biggest ever penalty. It should have been someone more experienced with Saka taking 1 or 2?- CF Comps (@CF_Comps9) July 11, 2021
Saka has taken 2 previous penalties, a friendly vs. Madrid & one for England u17.
Southgate has blood on his hands for throwing Saka to the wolves like that.- Karabo:goat: (@KaraboRithuri_) July 11, 2021
Even Sancho and Rashford. He didn't trust them to begin with but throws them when it's time for penalties.? He has blood on his hands
Still can't believe Southgate put Saka fifth with Sterling and Grealish on the pitch.- Nathaniel Cary (@nathanielcary) July 11, 2021
19 year old saka to take the deciding pen... southgate stinks, i'm actually gutted for saka.- ń:flag_black::flag_black: (@12nnimxo) July 11, 2021
idk why he would set him up like that
Not even arsed with Saka it's not his fault it was his turn. Why's Southgate got him taking the 5th penalty? Stupid decision.- :flag_ma: (@omarmcfc01) July 11, 2021
Just found out that was Saka's first ever competitive penalty and he's the decisive taker in the biggest game in the Nation's history for 55 years...- Ryan (@bernardooooV3) July 11, 2021
Poor management by Southgate, head up king :pray:
Southgate is largely responsible for this England loss...poor decision making in the last minute in my view. I feel sorry for Saka, the 19 year old given such a huge responsibility. More experienced players should have taken the penalties.#Euro2020Final#EnglandvsItaly #England pic.twitter.com/JWYQbDUD7Y- Takura Chamuka (@TakuraChamuka) July 11, 2021
Southgate's England penalty takers 3-5...- Banter FC (@BanterFC5) July 11, 2021
Rashford: On the pitch 45 seconds
Sancho: On the pitch 45 seconds
Saka: 19 years old in first major tournament pic.twitter.com/82kil6AfSi
Southgate bringing on Rashford and Sancho for two minutes to take a penalty is a shambles.- - (@AnfieldRd96) July 11, 2021
Also who gave the green light for 19 year old Saka to take the 5th penalty?
Southgate got everything wrong in the final for me.
i rate southgate highly but fucking hell why put saka, a relatively inexperienced 19 year old, as the deciding penalty taker, shameful- Memeulous (@Memeulous) July 11, 2021
Southgate spent a considerable period of time comforting Saka, having suffered that same penalty heartache himself back in Euro '96.
He's been there and he's done it. Gareth Southgate knows what Saka, Rashford and Sancho will be going through and knows how important support and reassurance is in those dark times. England are in good hands with him in charge :flag_black: #Euro2020Final pic.twitter.com/qHpikCa18e- Nile High (@GoTheExtraNile) July 11, 2021
"That's my decision to give him that penalty," Southgate said post-match.
"Totally my responsibility. We work through them in training, that's the order we came to."
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