Jadon Sancho has broken his silence following the Euro 2020 final penalty miss that saw him become the subject of racist abuse.

The England winger was introduced in the final moments of extra time against Italy on Sunday with the game level at 1-1.

Sancho and fellow substitute Marcus Rashford were seemingly introduced with a shoot-out in mind and both were included among England's first five takers.

But after Rashford hit the post with the third kick, cancelling out the Three Lions' early advantage, Sancho's spot-kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Italy goalkeeper also denied Bukayo Saka to complete a 3-2 Azzurri win and condemn England to another shoot-out failure – their seventh in nine attempts at major tournaments.

Racist abuse was directed at the three England players on social media in the aftermath, prompting a strong reaction from their team-mates, Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.

Rashford addressed the support he received from fans after a mural depicting the Manchester United forward, which was vandalised after the match, was covered in messages from well-wishers.

Sancho – reported to be undergoing a medical at United after a move from Borussia Dortmund was agreed – and Saka had not posted publicly until Wednesday, however.

Unlike Rashford, who acknowledged "something didn't feel quite right", Sancho said he felt confident from 12 yards. He has scored all three attempts for Dortmund (excluding shoot-outs).

But the 21-year-old sought to address what went wrong in a lengthy Instagram post and then turned his attention to the vile abuse.

"I've had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday's final and still feel a mix of emotions," Sancho wrote.

 

"I would like to say sorry to all my team-mates, coaching staff and most of all the fans who I let down. This is by far the worst feeling I've felt in my career.

"It's hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.

"My first thought before going into any football match is always: 'How can I help my team? How am I going to assist? How am I going to score? How am I going to create chances?'

"And that's exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team.

"I was ready and confident to take it, these are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer.

"I've scored penalties before at club level, I've practiced them countless times for both club and country, so I picked my corner but it just wasn't meant to be this time.

"We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.

"This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I've been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.

"I'm not going pretend that I didn't see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it's nothing new.

"As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.

"Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.

"I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.

"Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward.

"I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative.

"It's been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we'll be back even stronger! Stay safe and see you soon."

Patrik Schick's sensational long-range strike for the Czech Republic against Scotland has been voted Euro 2020's Goal of the Tournament.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward scored twice in the 2-0 win at Hampden Park on matchday one in the group stage, the second of those goals from just inside the Scotland half.

The goal was measured at 49.7 yards, making it the furthest distance a goal has been scored at the European Championship since such data was first recorded in 1980.

Schick spotted opposition goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and left the back-pedalling Scotsman red faced to overtake Torsten Frings' previous record of 38.6 yards for Germany against the Netherlands at Euro 2004.

 

Speaking after the match on June 14, Schick confirmed he had spotted Marshall off his line earlier in the contest and decided to have a go from range.

"I knew he liked to stay very high, so when the ball came, I quickly checked where he was standing, and it was a nice goal," he told BBC Sport. 

"I saw the keeper off his line. I checked already in the first half and thought maybe this situation will come."

The goal was voted the best from a shortlist of 10 compiled by UEFA's Technical Observer team, with nearly 800,000 votes being cast by the public.

Schick finished level with Cristiano Ronaldo as Euro 2020's top scorer with five goals in five games, but the Portugal superstar was awarded the Golden Boot as he also had one assist.

The 25-year-old's return of 81 minutes per goal was the third best of any player to have scored more than once in the tournament, behind Denmark's Kasper Dolberg (75.33) and Ronaldo (72).

England defender Harry Maguire says he is not surprised by the "terrible" racist abuse directed towards England team-mates Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

Rashford, Sancho and Saka all missed from 12 yards as England went down to a 3-2 penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final, which finished 1-1 after extra time.

The trio were quickly subjected to vile abuse on social media, while a mural of Rashford in his native Withington was defaced.

People flocked to the artwork in the Manchester suburb to attach messages of support and admiration for Rashford, who campaigned successfully for free school meals provision to be extended for struggling families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those scenes were representative of an outpouring of support for the three England players and Gareth Southgate's squad as a whole, with Maguire – whose successful penalty clattered into the top corner and broke the in-net camera – praising their bravery under intense pressure.

"It does not surprise me," he told the Sun when addressing the racist abuse. "For the three lads who have given everything for the country and been so brave to get this is terrible.

"When I was 19 or 20, I would have been standing there saying 'I don't want to take one'.

"So, look at the courage and bravery of these young lads, look at the age of Bukayo, Jadon and Marcus.

"The things I have gone through have made me more confident and have given me belief.

"These people who are being abusive would not be able to handle the pressure.

"It is the highest amount of pressure you will feel, so to do it at their age and to show such bravery should be applauded.

"I spoke with the three lads afterwards. I have checked up with them and seen how they are, but they are courageous lads.

"They should be applauded rather than criticised."

If the awful slurs directed towards Rashford, Sancho and Saka were the focus of attention after the match, beforehand numerous instances of disorder involving fans outside and around Wembley amounted to a dark day for English football.

Some supporters gained access to the stadium without tickets and videos showing violence between fans were rife on social media.

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to incidents inside Wembley, with events surrounding the ground also set to be investigated.

The whole affair does no favours for a mooted England and Ireland joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup, although matters struck much closer to home for Maguire, whose father was trampled and left with two suspected broken ribs after – according to The Sun – ticketless fans gained access through a disabled entrance.

"My dad was in the stampede. I have not spoken with him too much, but I am pleased my kids didn't go to the game," the Manchester United centre-back said.

"It was scary. He said he was scared and I don't want anyone to experience that at a football match.

"It was not a nice experience; it shook him up. But he was fortunate as every game he has been to, he has had my nephew or one of my kids on his shoulders.

"So, I'm thankful that did not happen as it could have been a really serious moment."

Chris Waddle believes it is "embarrassing" that so much focus is put on England's failures in penalty shoot-outs.

England's hopes of ending their 55-year wait for a major trophy were dashed in Sunday's Euro 2020 final when Italy prevailed on spot-kicks at Wembley.

The Three Lions won their previous major tournament shoot-out against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup and then beat Switzerland by the same method at the Nations League Finals.

Manager Gareth Southgate, who famously missed from 12 yards in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany, has worked hard to improve his team's processes.

But Marcus Rashford's shot against the post and Gianluigi Donnarumma's saves from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka handed England their seventh shoot-out defeat in nine at World Cups and European Championships. That is the worst record of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.

The first of those saw West Germany eliminate England at the 1990 World Cup after Waddle blazed his penalty over the crossbar.

But the former Newcastle United, Tottenham and Marseille winger says he was better for the experience and feels too much attention is paid to spot-kicks.

Kylian Mbappe and Alvaro Morata were other high-profile players to cost their sides in shoot-outs at Euro 2020, while only nine of the 17 attempts outside shoot-outs were converted.

"For me personally, when I missed mine, and I'm sure Stuart Pearce probably can say the same, we went on to be stronger players," Waddle told Stats Perform.

"I won three French titles, came back to England and had two cup finals with Sheffield Wednesday, could've won one. I won Footballer of the Year. Things went great.

"I was determined it wasn't going to play on my mind, I was determined that I would never crawl into a corner and hide away.

"I missed a pen. Who hasn't? Yeah, people might say the magnitude of the game obviously got more publicity than [it] normally would, but they've all missed.

"You can go through other players. I don't really know a player who's had a 100 per cent record at penalties.

"So, yeah, you can say this game is different from that game and that game, but overall, you can go through the greatest players in your mind and they've missed. You move on. It's life.

"It's a horrible way to lose a game. People say to me it's a pen, it's 12 yards out, you've got a free shot. It doesn't work like that.

"You can mis-hit it, you can hit it too well, you can get the wrong idea, the goalie guesses the right way.

"You know, we make so much [of it]. We're the only country in the world, by the way, who make such a thing about penalty kicks.

"When I was in France, if they go out, it's not even mentioned. It's like history. 'We shouldn't have been in that position, the game should have been decided in 120 minutes'. You've got 120 minutes to win a football match.

"I've seen a lot of teams lose and go out of tournaments to it; that's the end of it, you move on.

"And the more we talk about Saka, Sancho, Rashford, it's not helping them, it's not helping England, so move on.

"We know it's a common occurrence people do miss pens. We see it in the Premier League, we saw in this tournament: the first seven pens, four were missed. It happens.

"You know, we make such a deal of it. And it's embarrassing, really, I've got to say."

Sunday's match was the second example – after the 2006 World Cup loss to Portugal – of England failing with three penalties in a single shoot-out, and Southgate's decision to name Rashford, Sancho and Saka in his order has been questioned.

Outside of shoot-outs, Rashford had scored nine of 11 attempts for Manchester United and three of three for England. Sancho scored all three of his for Borussia Dortmund.

But they were introduced specifically for penalties with just moments remaining in extra time, while Saka, just 19, had never previously taken a senior spot-kick.

Waddle said: "It sort of backfired, didn't it?

"All Gareth can go off is he's experienced the same scenario as what happened to the players. In training there is no way you can compare.

"That's why people say to me, 'Did you practise in training in 1990?'. No, we didn't really. And people said we should have.

"Now they've practised probably more than any team in the competition. And they've lost.

"You can't sort of play that part of walking from the centre spot to the penalty spot to take a pen in a major competition where there's 60,000 there.

"And you remember you've got 30, 40, 50 million, maybe more around Europe and the world, watching this game. So, you just can't do it.

"The training ground is nowhere near a proper match in a proper penalty shoot-out. There's no comparison to a training ground.

"Now obviously Gareth saw them in the training; by the looks of it, probably Saka has never missed on the training ground.

"But it's a different proposition when you're walking there, the pressure's on and I can see why people said experienced players should've [gone ahead of Saka].

"Gareth said that was his call, he saw the penalty takers through the tournament practising and they were the ones who caught his eye. So, all he can go off is what he saw.

"And I don't think there's any way around [that]. People said it should have been [Jordan] Henderson and it should have been [Jack] Grealish or it should have been [John] Stones or whoever.

"You can only go with what you see on your eye, and if the player says yes. So, when he's gone, 'You, you, you', and they've gone, 'Yes, yes, yes', that's out of Gareth's hands then.

"And if any player was in any doubt, or slightly in doubt, he should have said it doesn't feel right. And somebody else I'm sure would have said, 'Yeah, I'll have it'.

"We'll learn from that; hopefully Gareth will learn from that. The players will. It's a horrible way to lose."

Italy and Argentina can prepare for the 2022 World Cup full of confidence after continental triumphs in the European Championship and Copa America.

The Azzurri have recovered in spectacular fashion from failing to qualify for Russia 2018, while Lionel Messi finally has an international honour to shout about.

Those teams were not alone in taking encouragement from this year's major international tournaments, but other potential Qatar contenders were not quite so impressive.

While some sides could reasonably point to mitigating factors – Belgium's injuries, Germany's final campaign under Joachim Low – plenty of big names underwhelmed.

With the World Cup finals, now just 16 months away, the next big target on the horizon, Stats Perform assesses which teams have put themselves in a better or worse position to challenge.

FULL OF HOPE...

Italy

Italy might have missed the previous World Cup after an awful qualifying campaign but, barring another such mishap, will enter the next tournament as defending European champions, and the Azzurri have in the past tended to perform better on the world stage than in the Euros, this their second continental championship to go alongside four global triumphs.

The only question mark against Roberto Mancini's side heading into Euro 2020 on a long unbeaten run was how they might fare against top teams, having largely avoided facing elite opposition since their most recent defeat to Portugal in September 2018. They then eliminated Belgium, Spain and England in succession to take the title and extend their stunning streak to 34 matches without a loss.

 

Only in the centre of defence, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, are Italy really ageing, and even then a swift turnaround could see the pair go again, having trailed for only 109 minutes of their undefeated stretch – 65 of those coming in the final against England.

Argentina

Argentina had been without a major honour since 1993, losing four Copa America finals and one World Cup decider since then. Messi had been involved in four of those five disappointments, but his and his country's fortunes finally changed for the better against Brazil.

The world's finest free agent was the obvious difference-maker, even if he did not score or create a goal in the 2021 final. Messi's goal involvements across the campaign improved from two in 2019 to a leading nine. He also created more chances (3.0, up from 2.0) and attempted more shots (4.0, up from 3.1) per 90 minutes.

But Messi also benefited from Argentina's sturdier foundations. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez – a debutant last month – was a breakout star, with the defence in front of him limiting chances as La Albiceleste conceded only three goals, half as many as in more matches in two years earlier.

England

Qatar 2022 will feel a long way away right now for England, who were so close yet so far from glory at Wembley. It ended in disappointment, but just making a first major tournament final in 55 years can only be counted as a success.

And the Three Lions have now proven they can now regularly contend; having reached the semi-finals at the previous World Cup, they have won knockout matches at consecutive tournaments (excluding third-place play-offs) for the first time. This might well be England's best ever team and they still have age on their side heading to Qatar.

Gareth Southgate's side should at least continue to be hard to beat. Since his first game in charge in 2016, England have kept 35 clean sheets – four clear of Italy with the best tally for a European nation.

 

Spain

Two games into Euro 2020, it seemed unlikely Spain would emerge from the tournament in a particularly positive light. They had dominated against Sweden – setting records for possession (85 per cent), passes (917) and successful passes (830) – and Poland, yet drawn both matches.

But the next two outings were rather more uplifting as La Roja scored five times against both Slovakia and Croatia to become the first team in Euros history to do so in consecutive matches. After scraping past Switzerland on penalties, Spain were the better side against Italy in the last four, only to come up just short – this time beaten on spot-kicks.

If Luis Enrique can unearth a reliable forward before next November, having underperformed their expected goals total by an alarming 4.1, Spain will very much be back in business.

DOWNWARD SLOPE...

Netherlands

At the end of the group stage, the Netherlands looked to be on a comparable course to Italy. They had also missed out on the 2018 World Cup – and Euro 2016 – but then reached the final of the inaugural Nations League in 2019 and won their first three matches at Euro 2020.

Led by Memphis Depay, those victories had also extended a run of scoring at least twice to 10 consecutive games in an Oranje record. Only then, though, did their campaign fall apart.

 

Matthijs de Ligt's red card against the Czech Republic in the last 16 led to a shock 2-0 defeat and cost Frank de Boer his job. Rebuilding again, the Netherlands – who were missing Virgil van Dijk due to the injury he sustained in October 2020 – have work to do just to get to Qatar, one of three teams on six points in Group G in qualifying, behind Turkey.

France

France were the favourites for Euro 2020 and may well be the popular pick again next year, but their shock shoot-out exit to Switzerland raised plenty of questions.

Supposed to shine alongside the returning Karim Benzema, superstar forward Kylian Mbappe disappointed for the first time on the big stage, a solitary assist his only goal involvement. Yet even when the big names did combine to devastating effect, as Benzema scored twice within four minutes and three seconds of a Hugo Lloris penalty save against Switzerland, dismal defending cost Les Bleus.

France gave away a tournament-high three spot-kicks, not helped by Didier Deschamps' unsuccessful attempt to switch to a new 3-4-1-2 formation – one that will surely be left in the drawer for the World Cup.

Portugal

Will Cristiano Ronaldo consider this a successful tournament? Portugal lost their crown, but he took home the Golden Boot with five goals and an assist. The Juventus forward's contributions kept Fernando Santos' side in contention as far as the round of 16, although – as at times at club level – there was a suspicion this team might better be able to thrive without their talisman.

 

No other Portugal player tallied more than two goal involvements, with Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva each drawing blanks. Indeed, that highly talented quartet only attempted 10 shots – five fewer than Ronaldo alone – and created 13 chances between them.

In Qatar, Ronaldo may be less mobile but will surely remain front and centre, reluctant to step aside for Fernandes and Co as he takes one final shot at World Cup glory.

Brazil

Had a tense home final gone their way, Brazil would have again been big winners coming out of the Copa America. But Argentina's progress and decisive victory has seen the Selecao – for so long on top in South America – knocked off their perch.

After five consecutive successes, it was Brazil's first major tournament final defeat since the 1998 World Cup, while they had not been beaten in a knockout match at the Copa America (excluding penalties) since 2001 against Honduras. However, they did become world champions for a fifth time the following year.

That will be the hope as Tite's men regroup, having lost their scoring touch when it mattered most. Brazil netted only twice in three knockout games.

England's Football Association has been hit with four UEFA charges after trouble at the Euro 2020 final, and a separate investigation has been launched into chaotic events involving supporters at Wembley.

On Tuesday, UEFA said an ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to look into events. There were major disturbances at the stadium on the day of England's big match against Italy.

England lost the final on penalties, after 120 minutes of action ended with the contest level at 1-1.

Damage was caused prior to the match as a number of supporters were seen clashing with security as they tried to enter the stadium in north London without tickets.

The inspector will be tasked with conducting "a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium".

UEFA confirmed it has forwarded initial charges relating to England supporters to its control, ethics and disciplinary body.

The FA faces possible sanctions over an invasion of the field of play, throwing of objects, disturbances during the national anthem and lighting of a firework.

A UEFA statement read: "Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA Euro 2020 final match between the national teams of Italy and England, played on 11 July at Wembley Stadium, London."

After listing the charges brought against the FA, the statement added: "The case will be dealt with by the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body [CEDB] in due course."

UEFA previously charged England relating to their semi-final in the tournament after a laser pointer was directed at Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel prior to a penalty for the hosts, fining the FA €30,000 (£25,600) for three offences stemming from that game.

 

Leonardo Bonucci claimed the booing of the Italian national anthem by England fans helped to inspire the Azzurri to Euro 2020 glory.

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties in Sunday's final at Wembley after the match had finished 1-1 following extra time.

Bonucci, who equalised to cancel out Luke Shaw's opener – the quickest goal ever scored in a European Championship final – and then converted his spot-kick in the shoot-out, was a rock at the heart of Italy's defence throughout the tournament.

No defender made more interceptions at Euro 2020 than Bonucci, whose tally of 12 tied him with Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko.

Several incidents occurred outside the ground on Sunday, with groups of supporters without tickets managing to force entry into Wembley.

With an already tense atmosphere perhaps not aided by these scenes, boos rang around the stadium during the Italian anthem.

Bonucci, though, said the jeers only helped lift Roberto Mancini's team and, in particular, his defensive partner Giorgio Chiellini.

"They whistled the anthem. They thought they had brought it home," Bonucci told Radio RAI 1.

"This, to me and the old man there [Chiellini] did nothing but increase our motivation. It was a personal satisfaction for me and Giorgio, who have not always been getting the praise we deserved."

 

Italy paraded the trophy in an open-top bus tour on Monday and Bonucci dedicated the win to those who had lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic, with Italy one of the worst-hit nations in Europe.

He also paid tribute to Azzurri legend Paolo Rossi, who died from lung cancer in December last year.

"The dedication goes to those who left us in this year and a half," he added.

"Among so many champions, as done for Davide Astori, I want to make a special dedication to Paolo Rossi, a great man.

"The cup is for him and the Italians who have suffered."

Gianluigi Donnarumma ultimately proved Italy's hero in London, as he kept out Bukayo Saka's penalty to seal victory.

Had the England youngster scored, the shoot-out would have gone to sudden death, with Jordan Pickford having previously denied Jorginho.

However, the midfielder joked that his miss was a deliberate ploy to enable Donnarumma – named UEFA's Player of the Tournament – would get the glory.

"It was all planned. I knew that Donnarumma would have saved it," Jorginho quipped in an interview with SportTV. 

"I always give everything I have for the team, but unfortunately, sometimes it's not enough.

"I ended up missing the penalty, and in that moment the world collapsed around me, because I wanted to hand Italy the win. Luckily, we have this phenomenon in goal that saved me."

The 719 minutes racked up by Donnarumma was the most by any player at Euro 2020; he missed only the closing stages of Italy's win against Wales in the group stage and also helped the Azzurri to a penalty shoot-out win over Spain in the semi-finals.

In fact, of the five shoot-outs he has been involved in so far in his career for club and country, Donnarumma – who is set to join Paris Saint-Germain – has always finished on the winning side.

Manuel Locatelli says talk of Juventus being interested in signing him is "pleasing", but the Sassuolo midfielder has not yet thought about his future after helping Italy to Euro 2020 glory.

The 23-year-old featured five times for the Azzurri in their successful European Championship campaign, including an appearance from the bench during extra time in Sunday's victory over England in the final.

He scored twice for Italy in the 3-0 group-stage win over Switzerland and had the second best goals-per-90-minutes ratio of any Italy player (0.66) after Matteo Pessina, who scored twice in four games (0.95).

Milan youth product Locatelli also won more tackles per 90 minutes (2.32) at the Euros than any other Italy player, followed by Marco Verratti (2.02) and Federico Bernardeschi (1.42).

Those displays, combined with his impressive performances helping Sassuolo to eighth place in Serie A last season, have garnered attention from Italian giants Juventus and Premier League side Arsenal.

Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali said earlier this month there has been interest shown by the pair in Locatelli, who is rumoured to be valued at around €50million.

But Locatelli, who has also previously been touted as a target for LaLiga duo Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, is not yet considering his next career move

"I have not really thought about it," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I've been playing for the national team and giving my best at the Euros. 

"I've had to give it my all for the Italians who have been following us, even those from afar. After these celebrations then we will see."

Asked specifically about the links with a move to Juventus, who recently reappointed Massimiliano Allegri as head coach, Locatelli added: "They're a great team. The interest is pleasing, I've always said that.

"But right now I am here with the national team, still cheering on Italy."

Locatelli missed a penalty in Italy's shoot-out win against Spain in the semi-finals and was embraced by captain Giorgio Chiellini after his side had eventually prevailed 4-2 on spot-kicks.

The midfielder was not required to step up in Sunday's victory against England but was willing to take one if called upon.

"The world was collapsing around me in the Spain game but Chiellini kept telling me not to worry because we won," he said.

"He told me the same thing yesterday. I would have taken a penalty against England, but luckily the others went before me."

Cristiano Ronaldo was the biggest omission as UEFA named the Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.

Five players from competition winners Italy made the best XI announced on Tuesday, though there was no place for Golden Boot winner Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward scored five times, as did the Czech Republic's Patrik Schick, but Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku got the nod in a front three with Federico Chiesa and Raheem Sterling.

Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire were the other England representatives in the team.

But there was no place for fellow defender Luke Shaw, who scored in the final to cap a fine tournament, or his Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba, one of the tournament's stars before France's elimination in the last 16.

Player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma was joined by Italy quartet Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazzola, Jorginho and Chiesa.

However, midfield star Marco Verratti missed out despite some influential performances in the knockout stages.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Pedri were the sole representatives for Denmark and Spain respectively, both teams having gone out in the semi-finals.

Lukaku also edged out Harry Kane, Karim Benzema and Emil Forsberg, who all ended up with the same goal tally (four) as the Inter forward.

 

The best players to miss out

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer enjoyed an incredible tournament, saving a Kylian Mbappe penalty in his side's shoot-out win against France in the last 16.

He made a tournament-high 21 saves in total, 10 of those coming in the eventual defeat to Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Denzel Dumfries saw his reputation enhanced during Euro 2020, even if the Netherlands were sent packing by the Czech Republic at the last-16 stage.

He became just the second ever Netherlands player, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, to score in his first two European Championship appearances, while also helping his side to a couple of clean sheets in his four outings.

Bonucci and Maguire earning selection meant their centre-back colleagues Giorgio Chiellini and John Stones narrowly missed out despite playing crucial roles.

England conceded just two goals all tournament, with only one of those coming in open play. A large part of that was down to ever-present defender Stones, who won 20 aerial challenges – the joint-second most of any defender in the competition, one behind Maguire.

Shaw was left out for England's opening game against Croatia, but the full-back soon made himself a consistent presence. He was even compared to the great Roberto Carlos after starring with two assists against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

The Manchester United defender provided three assists in total and netted the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final with his volley against Italy. Those four goal involvements were bettered only by Schick (five) and Ronaldo (six).

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Verratti was a major fitness doubt for the tournament and sat out Italy's first two matches, but made an emormous impact in the following five games.

Since his first game against Wales on June 20, all-rounder Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 for chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59), tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37).

 

Pogba likely paid the price for his team's exit rather than his own displays. 

He scored a stunning goal against Switzerland after getting two assists in the 2-2 group-stage draw with Portugal, and his supreme link-up play with Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Benzema was among the highlights of the early weeks of the tournament.

Schick not only scored the joint-most goals, but he was responsible for surely the most memorable one of the lot - a 49.7-yard lob against Scotland, the furthest ever distance a goal has been scored at a European Championships.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward found the net in all but one of his side's games, with three of his goals coming from open play, compared to just two for Ronaldo.

Even though it was far from a vintage tournament for Ronaldo and dethroned champions Portugal, the Juventus superstar still claimed the Golden Boot accolade thanks to having one assist more than fellow five-goal forward Schick.

Ronaldo's 72 minutes per goal was the best return of any player to have played at least three times in the tournament. 

His haul also moved him level with Iran great Ali Daei as the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football with 109, a record that he will get a chance to break later this year.

 

UEFA's Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy); Kyle Walker (England), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Harry Maguire (England), Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy); Jorginho (Italy), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Pedri (Spain); Federico Chiesa (Italy), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Raheem Sterling (England).

Marcus Rashford will come back stronger following his penalty miss against Italy and will not be put off from taking spot-kicks for Manchester United, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 23-year-old was one of three England players to fail to convert from 12 yards in Sunday's Euro 2020 final shoot-out loss to Italy, clipping the post with his attempt at Wembley.

Rashford, along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, have all suffered racist abuse on social media, prompting an angry response from the Football Association, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.

A mural of Rashford in Manchester was defaced after the game, though supporters have since covered the graffiti with positive messages for the United academy product, who posted an emotional thank you message on social media on Monday.

United boss Solskjaer understands Rashford's disappointment at missing a penalty in such a crucial game and has praised the forward for stepping forward in the first place in such a high-pressure situation.

"You know the thing is when you step up to take a penalty, I think you've already won," Solskjaer told United's official website on Tuesday. "You've taken on the responsibility and I'm sure many of the players are hoping I don't want to take a penalty.

"So I think it’s a great character trait to step up and say I will deal with it, and the consequences. You might be the hero or the one who misses. That's football.  You learn from it and definitely come back stronger.

"I've not seen many people, at this club anyway, who lay down and say I'll not take a penalty anymore. I know Marcus is going to put his hand up and say he wants to take one for us."

England have now won just two of their nine major tournament shoot-outs, with that 22 per cent win rate the lowest of any European national team to have been involved in three or more.

Luke Shaw had earlier given England the lead at Wembley with a volley after one minute and 57 seconds, making it the earliest goal ever scored in a European Championship final, before Leonardo Bonucci equalised to take the game the distance.

Full-back Shaw also racked up three assists, his four goal involvements across the tournament being bettered only by the Czech Republic's Patrik Schick (five) and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (six).

He also enjoyed a good campaign at club level in 2020-21 and Solskjaer is pleased to see the defender add goals and assists to his game.

"I'm so happy for Luke," Solskjaer said. "I was watching it and thinking 'what's just happened?' He started the attack and we've encouraged him to get into the last third.

"We know how technically gifted he is and skilful he is and he hit the ball very, very sweetly. 

"He keeps his eye on the ball, straight laces and it's margins again – off the post and in, not off the post and out. That's football for you. Luke deserves all the luck he can get. He's had a tremendous couple of years with us."

Solskjaer knows all too well about the disappointment of losing a shoot-out, with United having suffered heartbreak at the hands of Villarreal in May's Europa League final.

"Obviously, we know the feeling the whole of England had after the game," the Norwegian added. 

"One kick decides the whole mood. An even game, maybe Italy bossed possession a little bit, of course, but when it comes to penalty shoot-outs, anything can happen, as we know from our own last game.

"It's hard on the boys but that's football sometimes. You just have to deal with it and move on. I know the whole atmosphere in the country has been so great and, of course, it's an anti-climax. I know that."

Gianluigi Donnarumma revealed he was unaware Italy had beaten England when making the decisive save on Bukayo Saka's penalty in the Euro 2020 final.

The 22-year-old also kept out Jadon Sancho's attempt from the spot, while Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Italy prevailed 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time at Wembley.

Donnarumma's reaction to saving Saka's attempt was muted, with the goalkeeper calmly walking away before being mobbed by his team-mates.

But he has explained his response to helping Italy clinch their first European Championship crown since 1968 was due to him losing track of the score, rather than being in complete control of his emotions.

"I didn't realise we had won," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I looked at the referee and tried to understand if everything was okay.

"Then I turned to my team-mates and they ran towards me. From there everything started. I didn't understand anything."

 

Donnarumma was named UEFA's Player of the Tournament after his heroics against England, which followed a crucial penalty save in the semi-final shoot-out win against Spain.

The 719 minutes racked up by Donnarumma was the most by any player at Euro 2020; he missed only the closing stages of Italy's win against Wales in the group stage.

He is now expected to complete a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain following the expiration of his contract at Milan, where he had spent his entire career.

"I will always be tied to the Rossoneri," Donnarumma said when asked about his future. "For now, I'm just going to enjoy the party and then enjoy a vacation.

"I will always be a Milan fan and I wish them all the best in the world."

Donnarumma has now won all five of the shoot-outs he has been involved in with club and country in his career, three of those for Milan.

In his final season at San Siro, he kept 14 clean sheets in Serie A – a joint-high along with Inter's Samir Handanovic – to help Milan to their highest league finish since 2012.

Roberto Mancini has overseen arguably one of the all-time great transformations in international football, not only turning Italy into a team that has a clear and fresh identity, but also a side that is successful.

When they lost 1-0 to Portugal on September 10, 2018 in the Nations League, who'd have thought that by the next time they suffered defeat they'd have won the European Championship? The fact that's the case despite Euro 2020 being delayed for 12 months is all the more impressive.

While the Azzurri required a penalty shoot-out against England in Sunday's final at Wembley, it's fair to say Italy were worthy victors in the end, with their hosts' caution only taking them so far.

In fact, England's pragmatism was arguably akin to the philosophy historically associated with Italy, but under Mancini they've truly embraced a tactical fluidity that has seemingly altered the perception many have of them.

Press smart, work smart

Intense off-the-ball work and a high press have almost become mainstream in modern football. While they aren't necessarily prevalent aspects of every team, not even every great team, many of the world's finest coaches try to implement them to a certain degree.

At Euro 2020, it's been a core strength of Italy – but it's not just a case of chasing down opponents like headless chickens. They've proven themselves to be smart.

 

The average amount of passes Italy allow their opponents to have in their own defensive third before initiating a defensive action is 13 (PPDA). Seven teams at the tournament pressed with greater intensity, but none were as effective as Italy.

Their 56 high turnovers were matched by Denmark but Italy boasted a tournament-high 13 that led to a shot, while three resulted in a goal – that too was bettered by no other team.

It suggests that, while other sides such as Spain (8.1 PPDA) pressed higher, Italy were better at picking their moments and knowing when to up the intensity.

Italy still managed to remain well balanced, too. Their average starting position of 42.9 metres from their own goal was deeper than six other teams, an important factor considering Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci aren't the quickest.

Yet they still pressed to greater effect that any of the others.

Establishing control

If there was one area of the pitch that you might point out as most crucial in Italy's Euro 2020 success (if we ignore Gianluigi Donnarumma's shoot-out saves), it would be their midfield.

Nicolo Barella, Marco Verratti and Jorginho were largely excellent as a trio, though the latter pair have attracted most of the acclaim.

In Verratti, Mancini seems to have a player who truly embodies their style of play – an excellent creator, he also does more than his fair share off the ball as one of the most complete central midfielders in the game today. He puts the fun in functional.

Verratti played the most key passes (14) of anyone at the tournament and ranked fourth for successful passes (87.1) and fifth for tackle attempts (4.0) per 90 minutes (at least 90 mins played).

 

The Paris Saint-Germain star also provided drive from the centre, with his 23 ball carries per 90 minutes bettered by just five midfielders, though only Pedri moved the ball between five and 10 metres upfield more often than Verratti (47), highlighting his progressive mentality.

Yet he didn't do it all on his own – after all, Verratti missed the first two games through injury. No, Jorginho had a similarly important function as the chief deep-lying playmaker, playing 484 successful passes, trailing only Aymeric Laporte.

On top of that, Jorginho showed his innate ability to sniff out danger and get Italy back on the move, with his 48 recoveries the second-highest among outfield players.

Given the presence of these two, it's no wonder Italy strung together the third-most sequences of 10 of more passes (123), yet at no point did you feel they got in each other's way, which again is testament to Mancini's setup.

 

Turning a weakness into a strength

The fact Italy were successful despite not having a particularly convincing striker highlighted the effectiveness of other areas of the team.

Ciro Immobile was Mancini's pick to lead the line. He wasn't necessarily bad, as his goal involvement output of four (two goals, two assists) was only trumped by Patrik Schick and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, the Lazio man was by no means deadly in front of goal, hitting the target with just three of 18 shots. Among players with at least 10 attempts, just four were accurate with a smaller percentage than Immobile (16.7 per cent).

 

But so fluid were Italy that it didn't really matter. Immobile was one of five Italy players to net two goals, something no team has achieved at the Euros since France did in 2000.

At Italy's Coverciano coach training facility, there is said to have been a growing focus on the development of what are essentially formation-less tactics, and the fact Italy carried a threat from so many different positions suggests such a future actually isn't that far away.

Further to this, Italy showed real flexibility in attack. Sure, they scored 10 times inside the box, a figure third only to Spain and England, but the difference is the Azzurri also netted three from outside the area – no team managed more.

While you might expect that to reflect significantly in their expected goals (xG), Italy still pretty much scored exactly the number of goals one would ordinarily expect from the quality of their chances (13 goals, 13.2 xG), albeit one of those was an own goal.

 

Whether Italy have enough talent coming through to sustain this level and establish the first international 'dynasty' since the Spain side that won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 is another debate.

But there's little doubt Mancini has the know-how to make them the team to beat if the production line doesn't dry up.

Former Football Association (FA) chairman David Triesman believes the UK government must act to enforce tougher measures to prevent online racial abuse.

England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were all targeted with racial abuse on social media following the Three Lions' penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

The FA and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson released statements condemning the abuse, while Gareth Southgate and England captain Harry Kane reiterated the stance of England's squad, who have taken the knee prior to kick-off in every game of Euro 2020.

A mural of Rashford in Manchester was also defaced, though well-wishers covered the graffiti with messages of support for the 23-year-old, whose efforts off the pitch have resulted in a government policy shift over the last year.

But Triesman, a member of the House of Lords who was the FA's chairman from 2008 to 2010, insists now is the time for stricter action.

"Well, it is a way in which people show their beliefs and their solidarity with their colleagues who come from different ethnic backgrounds and that's not a bad thing," Triesman told Stats Perform when asked for his views on England taking the knee.

"The fact that people do something that's visible together, I don't think is a bad thing. But I think what we must get past is politicians saying that they don't like it or saying that it's outrageous, and saying it [racism] cannot be tolerated, and then doing nothing about it, which is tantamount to tolerating it.

"And that's why I think it has to be translated into action. I really, I think it's true in many things in life, it's certainly true in politics, but it's true in football as well. It's not so much what you say, it's what you do. It's when people see what you do, and they can see what you say and what you're doing are the same thing.

"The change will only come if the football authorities and political authorities come together and say they are going to make changes and spell out what those changes are.

"I think that part of this has to be a legislative change in which the people who run the media platforms so often just describe themselves as the postman, they don't know what's under the envelope. I don't buy that at all. That's a recipe for seeing children abused online. It's a recipe for bullying. 

"We've seen all of these things. It's not like they're a mystery to us anymore and I think the media platforms have got to be held to account, even if it means that a very rich source of the material that goes on to them is simply cut off. There's a point at which people have to face their responsibilities."

Triesman added that the onus is also on the FA to take tougher action, as well as lobbying the government.

"If we catch them in grounds being racist and abusive, that should be the last day they get into a ground to see football," he continued.

"Stamp it out. Football can do a lot of this itself. But if it needs extra powers – if I was still at the FA I would be knocking on the door of government today saying, 'Here are the powers I've got, I'm going to use them. If I think they're deficient, I want more powers, because I'm absolutely determined'."

Lando Norris had his watch taken in an "incident" at the Euro 2020 final on Sunday, Formula One team McLaren have confirmed.

Norris was in attendance at Wembley as England lost on penalties to Italy in the European Championship decider.

There were scenes of unrest throughout the day at England's national stadium as individuals without tickets attempted to gain access to the long-awaited final.

Indeed, pictures in London showed supporters clashing inside and outside Wembley.

And McLaren announced on Monday their star driver was left "understandably shaken" following an incident which has been reported to the police.

The team said: "McLaren Racing can confirm that Lando Norris was involved in an incident, after the Euro 2020 final match at Wembley, during which the watch he was wearing was taken.

"Thankfully, Lando was unharmed but he is understandably shaken. The team is supporting Lando and we are sure that racing fans will join us in wishing him all the best for the British Grand Prix this weekend.

"As this is now a police matter we cannot comment further."

Heading into his home British Grand Prix, Norris is an impressive fourth in the F1 drivers' championship having earned a third podium of the season last time out in Austria.

Norris has collected points at 14 consecutive races, the best run of his F1 career and the longest ongoing streak in the series.

Fernando Alonso, in 2007, was the last McLaren driver to enjoy such a stretch.

Marcus Rashford has posted an emotional thanks for the support he has received following his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final, despite the Manchester United forward having been the recipient of racial abuse.

Rashford hit the post with his spot-kick in England's 3-2 shoot-out defeat to Italy – Gianluigi Donnarumma subsequently saving efforts from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

United star Rashford had been introduced by Gareth Southgate in the dying embers of extra time at Wembley, seemingly specifically with penalties in mind.

After the game, the 23-year-old – whose fight for children to have access to free school meals has led to a shift in UK government policy – along with Saka, Sancho and Raheem Sterling, was targetted by hateful messages on social media.

Channel 4, quoting a report by data company Signify, claimed close to 2,000 racially abusive tweets had been sent to the four players.

Southgate, the Football Association (FA) and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson all condemned the perpetrators, while England captain Harry Kane insisted anybody posting such messages was not wanted by the team as a supporter.

Meanwhile, a mural of Rashford in Withington, Manchester, was defaced overnight.

However, supporters of Rashford have since covered the graffiti with messages of support, while United's official Twitter account posted: "We're all behind you, @MarcusRashford.

"As a player. As a person. As an inspiration to our club and our supporters. As a representation of hope that there is plenty more good than bad in the world."

On Monday, Rashford posted an emotional message, firstly apologising for his missed penalty.

"I don't even know where to start and I don't even know how to put into words how I'm feeling at this exact time," Rashford wrote.

"I've had a difficult season, I think that's been clear for everyone to see and I probably went into that final with a lack of confidence. I've always backed myself for a penalty but something didn't feel quite right.

"During the long run up I was saving myself a bit of time and unfortunately the result was not what I wanted. I felt as though I had let my team-mates down. I felt as if I'd let everyone down.

"A penalty was all I'd been asked to contribute for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep so why not that one? It's been playing in my head over and over since I struck the ball and there's probably not a word to quite describe how it feels. Final. 55 years. One penalty. History.

"All I can say is sorry. I wish it had of [sic] gone differently. Whilst I continue to say sorry I want to shout out my team-mates. This summer has been one of the best camps I've experienced and you've all played a role in that. A brotherhood has been built that is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine."

He then went on to thank the well-wishers for their support, though reiterated he would never apologise for "who I am and where I came from."

“I've grown into a sport where I expect to read things written about myself. Whether it be the colour of my skin, where I grew up, or, most recently, how I decide to spend my time off the pitch," Rashford continued.

"I've felt no prouder moment than wearing those three lions on my chest and seeing my family cheer me on in a crowd of 10s of thousands. I dreamt of days like this. The messages I've received today have been positively overwhelming and seeing the response in Withington had me on the verge of tears.

"The communities that always wrapped their arms around me continue to hold me up. I'm Marcus Rashford, 23 year old, black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I have nothing else I have that."

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