Phil Neville has labelled Gareth Southgate a "leader of great men" and "national treasure" following England's run to the Euro 2020 final.

Southgate led the Three Lions to their first major tournament final in 55 years, where they suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Italy at Wembley.

It also represented England's best performance in the competition as they topped Group D before overcoming rivals Germany 2-0 in the round of 16.

They then put four past Ukraine in the quarter-finals, while Harry Kane's extra-time penalty secured a 2-1 win over Denmark in the last four.

Ex-England defender Neville, who guided England Women to the 2019 World Cup semi-finals, played alongside Southgate at Euro 96 as Terry Venables' side reached the semi-finals.

They also formed part of Kevin Keegan's squad that were knocked out in the group stages at Euro 2000.

And the Inter Miami head coach has hailed the achievements of his former team-mate, who is currently contracted until after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Lando Norris admitted he is "not in perfect condition" ahead of the British Grand Prix, after he had his watch taken from his wrist in an incident after the Euro 2020 final.

Norris, who is fourth in the Formula One drivers' championship, was targeted as he walked back to his car following Italy's penalty shoot-out win over England at Wembley on Sunday.

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

However, the 21-year-old was cleared to race in his home grand prix this weekend.

Norris acknowledged, though, that the preparation has been far from ideal.

"I'm fine... but I've been better, I can say that. I'm not in perfect condition, I'm not going to lie," he told Sky Sports.

"Some work to do, mentally. Of course I talk about that a lot and mental health, and mental strength is very important. I've not been sleeping that great, and so on.

"Not ideal and I'm feeling a bit sore. But I'm not the guy in the worst position after Wembley.

"I'll work on it, I'll make sure I'm in the best shape possible and I feel like can still go out and focus on what I need to do and that's the main thing.

"I guess it's just unlucky. I don't really want to go into too much detail, but I'm thankful that I'm here.

"It's not the nicest experience for anyone to go through and it's not only me that it's happened to, it's happened to other people. It's something I don't wish upon anyone and, of course, if anyone else goes through it, I can sympathise with them and I know what they feel like."

Norris earned his third podium finish of the season last time out in Austria, and has collected points at 14 successive races. It is the best run of his F1 career.

McLaren were dealt a blow ahead of the return to Silverstone, with chief executive Zak Brown forced to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19.

England's second string have "done themselves a world of good" with their performances in the ODI series against Pakistan, says captain Eoin Morgan.

Ben Stokes returned early from an injury lay-off to captain a hastily assembled side in the three-match series after England's first-choice squad were forced to isolate due to a coronavirus outbreak.

However, with Morgan and Co watching on from the sidelines, England's back-up brigade impressed in a 3-0 series triumph – James Vince scoring his maiden ODI century as he led a record run chase at Edgbaston to secure the third victory.

England's star names have returned for the T20I series, which starts on Friday, though Saqib Mahmood, who was named player of the series, and Lewis Gregory have been rewarded for their performances.

"They've done themselves the world of good, to be honest," Morgan said when asked of the players who stepped up to fulfil the ODI series.

"The one thing you look at when guys come in and out is a marked improvement from the time they [first] get the opportunity to the time the next opportunity arrives. The two guys mentioned [Mahmood and Gregory] and Vince were outstanding.

"I think everybody within the group was extremely proud to watch them play like they did, simply because it's the biggest compliment you can pay to anybody who played in the World Cup group, and the way we've played in the last five years has had such an impact on the game.

"Guys recognise that opportunities are few and far between but, when they do come, the method that the team plays is starting to resonate with people around the country, which is great.

"Over the last six years, with the amount of cricket we play, you don't get to enjoy the cricket as much as you'd like. But sitting back and watching the guys [and] the way the guys played was hugely satisfying. They played an exciting brand of cricket, they really enjoyed themselves, and the result came with that. It was hugely beneficial."

 

England have triumphed in five of their past six T20I home outings, and finished 2020 with three successive wins, meaning a victory at Trent Bridge will match their longest winning run on home soil in the format.

However, Pakistan won the most recent meeting between the teams last September, a five-run victory in Manchester in a series which finished 1-1.

One player Morgan will be unable to call on is Stokes, who has been rested as he recovers from the finger injury which had been set to keep him out of white-ball action this month.

"He dug us out of a huge hole coming back early from his injury and I think leading the way he did is a huge compliment to the leader he is within our side, how mature he has been as a leader and now a captain," Morgan said of Stokes.

"We gave him every chance to be fit. He hasn't played a lot of cricket and he's had some 'R and R' at home and feels quite fresh.

"The finger hasn't come along as he and the medical team would have liked, so it's important it's as good as it can be for the Test matches against India."

Bukayo Saka said he will not be broken by his Euro 2020 final penalty miss and the racist messages that followed, as he told social media bosses to raise their own game.

The versatile winger was one of three England players to miss in the shoot-out defeat to Italy on Sunday, along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, and revealed he "knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive".

Gianluigi Donnarumma's save from Saka's spot-kick was the decisive moment in the match, which finished 1-1 after extra time, as England fell to a 3-2 penalties defeat at Wembley.

Saka, Rashford and Sancho were all subjected to racist abuse on social media after the game, while a mural of Rashford was defaced in Manchester, prompting a strong reaction from England team-mates, manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.

Rashford and Sancho addressed the situation with messages posted on Monday and Wednesday respectively, and 19-year-old Saka delivered his own powerful message on Thursday.

"I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks," he wrote. "This message won't do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me."

He described his England team-mates as "brothers for life" and added: "There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I'm sorry that we couldn't bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we've got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.

"My reaction post match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I'd let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this... I will not let that moment or the negativity that I've received this week break me."

The Arsenal youngster called out the likes of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, telling them to do more to tackle problem users.

"For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well - I'm so thankful," Saka said.

"This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football.

"To the social media platforms @instagram @twitter @facebook I don't want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me Marcus and Jadon have received this week.

"I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.

"There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society. To the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win. Love always wins."

England will be aiming to continue their fine T20I form on home soil when they take on Pakistan in a three-match series, starting on Friday in Nottingham.

Fresh off a 3-0 sweep in the ODI games against the same opponents, England switch to a format in which they have triumphed in five of their past six outings in their own back yard.

Indeed, they finished a 2020 season hampered by the coronavirus pandemic with three victories on the spin – another at Trent Bridge in the opener against Pakistan will match their longest winning run at home in 20-over action, having previously enjoyed a four-match streak from September 2014 to July 2016.

However, Pakistan won the most recent meeting between the teams in September of last year, a five-run victory in Manchester making sure that series finished level at 1-1.

The tourists will hope a change to T20 action can help them turn around their fortunes on this trip, considering they were outplayed by a makeshift England 50-over team that had been hastily put together due to COVID-19 protocols.

Eoin Morgan was among the regulars forced to isolate following positive coronavirus cases within the group that had been on duty for the ODI games against Sri Lanka, but the captain is back to lead a more familiar squad this time around.

Saqib Mahmood is included again after impressing in the one-day arena, while Lewis Gregory is also selected and there is a return from injury for Jos Buttler, too. Ben Stokes – captain of the 50-over side in Morgan's absence – is left out, however, having only just made his comeback following surgery on a broken finger.

Chris Silverwood will also be missing for the home team, with England's head coach taking a break from his duties. Paul Collingwood has been placed in temporary charge.

As for Pakistan, Imad Wasim has been recalled to a squad that also includes batsman Azam Khan, son of former national team captain and coach Moin Khan.

England are at home, but Trent Bridge has not been regularly used for T20 international fixtures in the past. The home side won by seven wickets against West Indies at the venue back in June 2012, having lost by the same margin when taking on South Africa there three years earlier.

 


In the (Mah)mood for more wickets

With England opting to leave out Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood – three likely selections for the upcoming Test series against India – Mahmood has an opportunity to stake his claim ahead of this year's Twenty20 World Cup.

The Lancashire pace bowler finished with nine wickets at an average of 13.66 in his three ODI outings against Pakistan, all while going at just 4.39 runs per over.

Brilliant Babar to lead the way?

Pakistan captain Babar Azam made up for two low scores with a sensational 158 in the third one-dayer, albeit his efforts came in a losing cause. His innings did at least strengthen his grip on top spot in the official ODI batting rankings.

He is just as prolific in T20I cricket, too. Since the beginning of 2019, the right-hander is the only player to reach 1,000 runs in the format (1,004), while no other has managed more scores of 50 or more across that period (11).

Key series facts

- Pakistan will be aiming for back-to-back wins in men’s T20Is against England for the first time, following a five-run victory in their most recent meeting (September 1, 2020).

- England are undefeated against Pakistan from their five multigame bilateral T20I series (W3, D2); their most recent such series in 2020 ended in a draw.

- Three of the four players with the best batting averages in T20I cricket (25+ innings) could appear in this series: Dawid Malan (47.4), Babar Azam (47.3) and Mohammad Rizwan (44.4). Only Virat Kohli (52.7) has a better average in the format than the trio.

- England have the second-best batting strike rate (148.9 runs per 100 deliveries) of any Test-playing country in T20I action since the beginning of 2019 (New Zealand – 151.5).

- Fakhar Zaman (948) is 52 away from scoring 1,000 T20 runs at international level; he would be the seventh man to achieve the feat for Pakistan, and the fourth fastest to do so (45th innings) if he achieves the milestone in the first match (Babar Azam – 26 innings, Mohammad Hafeez – 41 and Ahmed Shehzad – 42).

- Pakistan pace bowler Haris Rauf has taken 25 wickets in T20I action since the beginning of 2020; only two players have taken more in that time (Tabraiz Shamsi – 26 for South Africa and Ish Sodhi – 26 for New Zealand).

Fifty-four passes. In two minutes and 41 seconds of unbroken possession during the closing stages of their Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark, England moved to the brink of a 2-1 win in beautifully assured fashion with a 54-pass move. Over the course of the entire additional half hour, they completed 198 passes – more than the Three Lions managed in the entirety of the 1-0 Euro 2000 win over Germany.

Thirty-eight passes. Five days later in the final, Gareth Southgate's team could only manage 38 successful passes in the entire first half of extra time against Italy. That ticked up to 47 during the final 15 minutes of the 1-1 draw but still stood in stark contrast to the supreme example of modern, pro-active game management from the preceding midweek.

Southgate has overseen a period of unprecedented progress during his time in charge of international football's most maligned underachievers. A final for the first time since 1966, back-to-back semi-finals for the first time since 1968. As a major tournament force, England are stronger than they have been at any time over the past half a century by some distance.

But large chunks of Sunday's final defeat to Roberto Mancini's brilliant side felt like they had been transplanted from the bad old days, long before a penalty shoot-out concluded a tale of heartbreak. The lack of control and accompanying slow, sinking feeling could have belonged to any era.

By the final whistle, Italy had completed 820 passes to England's 426. As well as being common to England setbacks of yesteryear, there was also a repeated pattern from two of Southgate's previously most notable defeats in charge. Dictating the terms against elite opponents and being able to wrestle back control during moments of high stress represents something of a final frontier with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar a little over 16 months away.

Verratti and Jorginho torment England like pass masters Modric and De Jong

Leonardo Bonucci scrambled in Italy's equaliser after 67 minutes at Wembley, Luke Shaw having given England a second-minute lead.

When Southgate's team went down to a 2-1 semi-final defeat against Croatia at the 2018 World Cup, Kieran Trippier's free-kick put them ahead in the fifth minute before Ivan Perisic equalised in the 68th and Mario Mandzukic won it in extra time.

In between those two games, England faced the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the inaugural Nations League. Marcus Rashford put them ahead from the penalty spot – yes, he's normally excellent at those – before Matthijs de Ligt equalised in the 73rd minute and the Dutch pulled clear in the first additional period.

First-half leads cancelled out by 67th, 68th and 73rd-minute goals can, of course, just be a coincidence. But England gradually ceded control in each match, conceded and never truly reasserted themselves.

 

On Sunday, Italy had deep-lying playmaker Jorginho and the masterful Marco Verratti calling the tune, while two years earlier the Netherlands had Frenkie de Jong and in Moscow, Luka Modric was at the peak of his powers. Each time, there was a level of midfield expertise to which England had no sufficient answer.

Raw passing statistics can sometimes be misleading. If a central defender racks up more passes than his team-mates – as Bonucci did at Wembley – it does not mean they are the best passer on the field, more that they have a higher frequency of simple passes to make due to their position.

But in the heat of a midfield battle, a player being able to compile pass after pass suggests they might be dictating terms.

At the Luzhniki Stadium, Modric made 71 passes, slightly fewer than his colleagues in the Croatia engine room Marcelo Brozovic (87) and Ivan Rakitic (84). England's starting midfield three – admittedly not a trio who matched up entirely with Croatia in a positional sense – of Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard managed 48, 47 and 38 respectively.

If Modric led an ensemble performance, De Jong conducted England all by himself in Guimaraes a year later. The Barcelona midfielder made 104 passes over the course of 120 minutes, with England's starting midfielders Declan Rice, Fabian Delph and Ross Barkley managing 54, 24 and 56. Only Barkley saw the final whistle, while De Jong's passing accuracy of 96.2 per cent was almost identical to Rice (96.3) at nearly twice the output.

Paired with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips, Rice had another tall task when taking on Jorginho and Verratti. Once again, it was a case of England chasing around after accomplished technicians.

Paris Saint-Germain's Verratti was in majestic form as he turned the contest in the Azzurri's favour. Of his 118 passes, 111 were successful and 72 came in the England half. Chelsea's Jorginho was similarly efficient with 94 out of 98 completed. Even allowing for Rice's 74th-minute substitution, the Opta statistics for himself (33 passes, 25 completed) and Phillips (39 passes, 30 completed) tell the story of their and England's night.

 

No passing, please, we're English

Despite the weekend sense of déjà vu, it is only fair to credit England with progress when coming up against technically superior midfields.

They gained a measure of revenge against Croatia, who they also beat en route to their Nations League date with the Netherlands, during the group stage and similarly shackled Germany – Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and all – in a 2-0 last-16 win.

As he did against Die Mannschaft, Southgate switched to a 3-4-3 for Italy and the formation initially overwhelmed Mancini's men, who were attacked repeatedly down their flanks.

This served to remove Italy's midfield superiority as a major factor in the contest until after half-time. Some have criticised Southgate for not being pro-active when the tide began to turn, failing to send on attacking threats such as Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish to give the Azzurri new and different problems.

While those suggestions are valid, it is also fair to ponder whether England would simply have had fresh-legged spectators to the Verratti-Jorginho show. Studying data from the Premier League and across Europe's major divisions this season, it can be concluded that changing formation, funnelling play out wide and pressing judiciously are all work-arounds Southgate and his coaching team have developed for a problem to which they don't have a direct remedy.

 

In England's top flight in 2020-21, Manchester City's Rodri averaged the most passes per 90 minutes of midfielders to have made 20 or more appearances with 91.24. Next on the list were Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic (87.23), Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara (83.32) and Manchester United's Nemanja Matic (83.05), with Jorginho rounding out the top five on 79.68.

Considering players who featured at least 25 times in all competitions across the big five leagues, Verratti comes in second with a fairly absurd 96.86, from Sergio Busquets (94.63), Rodri and Kroos (88.37).

Miralem Pjanic's debut season at Barcelona was an utterly forgettable affair and one that could not be saved by him tiki-takaing himself to a standstill with 104.29 passes every 90 minutes. High passing numbers do not always mean a stand-out performer but illustrate a certain type of player – a type not readily available to Southgate.

Discounting Henderson's 92.85 per 90, given he played so often in 2020-21 at centre-back (meaning he was also ruled out of the Premier League rankings, having finished top at 95.69 from 21 outings), you have to scroll a decent way down this Europe-wide list to find some English representation.

The Premier League supplied three of last season's four European finalists and all of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United boasted brilliant English players who were pivotal to their success. But in each case, overseas players were entrusted with the midfield duties that generally undo England.

Yet, in some respects, Qatar 2022 is further away than it might seem. If Euro 2020 had actually taken place in 2020, it is more likely Shaw, Kyle Walker and John Stones would have missed out on the squad rather than made up three-quarters of Southgate's first-choice defence. Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, Reece James, Conor Coady, Jude Bellingham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Phillips and Grealish had not made their international debuts this time last year.

A lot can change between then and now, so who might emerge as a king of control for Southgate?

 

A nudge from Winks? Skipp to it?

The highest ranked English midfielder on the top-five leagues list is Tottenham's Harry Winks, who averaged 71.47 passes every 90 minutes over the course of 28 appearances.

Only 15 of those were in the Premier League and nine were starts. Getting regular football, largely due to a succession of injury problems, has been a problem for the 25-year-old, who is now being linked with a move away from Spurs.

However, Southgate is a fan and is responsible for giving Winks all 10 of his England caps to date. A Shaw-style renaissance is certainly possible.

One factor that might cause him to seek pastures new is Oliver Skipp's return to Tottenham from a successful loan spell at Norwich City.

While helping the Canaries to promotion from the Championship, the 20-year-old averaged 58.52 passes per 90. Nowhere near the towering numbers posted by Europe's best but the third highest among midfielders to have played 30 or more times in a competition of a very different nature.

Skipp has represented England at under-21 level and the pathway from there to the seniors is clear in the Southgate era.

Winks was the only English midfielder to average above 70 passes per 90 on our European list, although Curtis Jones (68.04) – hoping for a more prominent role at Liverpool this season – and provisional Euros squad member James Ward-Prowse (64.75) are other options who might treat the ball with a little more TLC.

 

Can the men in possession be better in possession?

It might seem perverse to say England need to vastly improve their control in midfield, while claiming Rice and Phillips each had fine tournaments, but both statements are true.

Southgate is not averse to hard-nosed selection decisions but whatever the formation or opponent, the West Ham and Leeds favourites started each match in central midfield. Rice's 12 interceptions were only bettered by Jorginho (25) and N'Golo Kante (14), while the Italy lynchpin recovered possession 48 times – shading Phillips (45) and lying behind Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (51).

With the ball, they did not perform their deep-lying roles like Jorginho or De Jong – even allowing for some of Rice's ravishing first-half dribbles in the final – because they were not asked to. Which leads to the obvious question: could they do it?

Plenty of good judges certainly seem to hold Rice in that regard, as evidenced by persistent links to Chelsea and Manchester United. He averaged 47.7 passes per 90 minutes last season and, for all that they enjoyed a brilliant season under David Moyes, West Ham's average possession figure of 42.53 was the sixth lowest in the division.

To understand the full range of Rice's prowess and potential to be England's metronome, it might be necessary to view him on a weekly basis in a different setting.

The same need not be said for Phillips, who did not pick up his "Yorkshire Pirlo" nickname on account of interceptions or recoveries. Control is not always the primary aim of Marcelo Bielsa's high-intensity and ravenous pressing style, all whirring parts and thrills, but Phillips averaged 52.02 passes per 90 last term in the Premier League.

Again, this is not up there with the elite distributors in Europe, but it is a useful return at odds with his 39 passes over the course of 120 minutes versus Italy.

 

Bridging the gr-8 divide

At Leeds, Phillips will generally have more forward passing in closer proximity than those that were granted to him at Wembley on Sunday. This is where the configuration of Southgate's midfield is worth consideration.

It will be intriguing to see whether he returns to a 4-3-3 with two number eights as opposed to a 4-2-3-1 with two holders and a 10 when England resume World Cup qualifying in September.

The defeat to a De Jong-inspired Netherlands and a wild 5-3 Euros qualifying win over Kosovo later in 2019 were influential in the England boss choosing a more cautious approach for Euro 2020, shelving an expansive 4-3-3.

A run to the final without conceding a goal from open play means that decision cannot really be disputed. But perhaps this newfound defensive solidity means the shackles can be loosened once more, allowing more attack-minded players to operate centrally.

The control that eluded England in the matches discussed above was not simply as a result of metronomic passing. De Jong (16) was second only to Raheem Sterling (20) for dribbles completed at Euro 2020, while Verratti had three carries resulting in a chance. Five from Hojbjerg, Lorenzo Insigne and Gareth Bale topped the list in the competition.

Ability to carry the ball, both to ease pressure through linking the play along with creating chances, sounds like quite a good description of Foden. The Manchester City youngster's injury absence felt more regrettable as the final pressed on.

In pre-recorded introductions for ITV's Euro 2020 coverage, Foden described himself as a central midfielder. It is where he played the vast majority of his youth football for City and during most of his early first-team outings.

But in a 2020-21 campaign when it was hoped he would step forward as David Silva's playmaking replacement, he in fact filled the void left by Leroy Sane and turned in electrifying performances on the left wing.

 

"Phil just needs time to improve playing inside," Pep Guardiola said when discussing Foden's positional change earlier this year.

"When you play as a winger you have to play at one tempo and when you play inside you have to play in another one. When he gets this balance he will be 10 times more extraordinary as a player. It’s just a question of time."

Southgate will have an eye on that ticking clock and also how Mason Mount is used by another esteemed tactician. The Chelsea youngster has played as an eight for club and country but was used almost exclusively in the front three after Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge and plotted a path to Champions League glory.

There are few English players more elegant and effective when it comes to running with the ball at his feet than Grealish. In 2020-21, international team-mate Harry Maguire and Leeds full-back Luke Ayling were the only English players to have more than his 172 instances of carrying the ball towards goal for 10 metres or more. Mount (138) came seventh on that progressive carries list.

But, like Foden and Mount, most of Grealish's best recent work has come in the forward line. The likes of Verratti and De Jong are masters of their craft because they play in their position every week.

Still, dropping one of his twinkle-toed playmakers a touch deeper might become an irresistible work-around, especially if paired with a Henderson back to his talismanic best in central midfield for Liverpool. In 2019-20 he was the heartbeat of the side that won the Premier League, averaging 74.44 passes per 90 into the bargain. Suffering against Modric and Croatia before failing to stem the tide when short of match fitness versus Italy should not cloud perceptions of the 31-year-old's supreme qualities.

Then there is the tantalising prospect of Bellingham's next stage of development under the highly regarded Marco Rose at Borussia Dortmund. The 18-year-old could be frighteningly good by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around. If Southgate can hit upon a formula for midfield that can both dictate and create, we could be able to say the same for England.

Chris Waddle believes England will not get a better chance to win a major tournament following their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

The Three Lions suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak on Sunday as the Azzurri prevailed 3-2 on spot-kicks at Wembley.

It was an agonising defeat for Gareth Southgate, who had guided England to their first major final in 55 years – and first at the European Championship.

Southgate's side conceded just a single goaleon route to the showpiece, becoming the first nation to begin a Euros campaign with five successive clean sheets along the way.

However, a first trophy since the 1966 World Cup narrowly eluded the Three Lions after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Buyako Saka all missed from 12 yards out.

Former England winger Waddle was part of Bobby Robson's side that reached the 1990 World Cup semi-finals, before losing to West Germany on penalties.

And the 60-year-old, who along with Stuart Pearce was unsuccessful from the spot in that defeat, thinks his nation will struggle for a better opportunity to end their long wait for major silverware.

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."

England captain Eoin Morgan is one of the players back in the fold for the T20I series against Pakistan.

Morgan and vice-captain Jos Buttler are among nine men to return after being forced to self-isolate due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the England squad during their series against Sri Lanka earlier this month.

That meant a completely fresh squad with a raft of debutants was called up for the ODI series versus Pakistan, with Ben Stokes captaining them to a superb 3-0 series win.

Stokes will now rest up, but Lancashire fast bowler Saqib Mahmood has been rewarded with a T20 call-up after taking nine wickets at 13.66 in the ODIs to collect the player-of-the-series award.

Similarly, Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory remains with the senior set-up after his superb 77 from 69 deliveries proved crucial alongside James Vince's century in England's thrilling chase of 332 at Edgbaston on Monday.

 

England T20I squad

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Tom Banton, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey

Ben Stokes hailed England's hastily assembled squad after James Vince's maiden ODI century inspired a clean-sweep sealing victory over Pakistan.

England's preparation for the three-match home series was thrown into chaos last week when Eoin Morgan's first-choice squad were forced into isolation due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Stokes had missed England's series with Sri Lanka due to a finger injury, but he returned to captain a new-look group.

It could hardly have gone better for England who, on the eve of the second anniversary of their World Cup triumph, mounted a record run chase in an ODI at Edgbaston to seal a 3-0 series victory on Tuesday.

Vince hit his first century in the format, a sparkling 102, while Lewis Gregory's 77 also helped England get over the line. Brydon Carse, who took a five-wicket haul, rounded off the win with a boundary down the ground.

While lauding the work of Morgan behind the scenes, Stokes praised the performances of England's second string, which proves the strength in depth at the world champions' disposal.

"Not just today, throughout the series, all the efforts of the guys have been fantastic," Stokes said in the post-match presentation.

"I keep reverting back to where we were last week, just got to give a massive thanks to all the players, all the coaches, support staff for still making this happen. It's been a tough week for everyone involved but we've managed to pull through – to put in performances like that is fantastic.

"A huge amount of credit has got to go to Eoin and Chris Silverwood for allowing the new guys to come in and go out and play in that manner, go out and impress which is what they asked them to do at the start of the series.

"Nobody has taken a backwards step, so so much credit has got to go to Eoin and the way he's built the team.

"This is the culture that Eoin and me try to create, allowing guys to go out there and play fearless cricket, even at the top of the order, Phil Salt has come in and given us that dynamic, so the most pleasing thing to me is nobody has been affected by the situation or the occasion, they've just gone out there, enjoyed themselves and had a great experience.

"It's the best place to be in. To have so many good players coming through, everybody has seriously put their hands up and got a few guys looking over their shoulders. Just seriously impressed with everyone throughout the series."

 

While Vince took his chance with the bat, Saqib Mahmood returned to England's set-up to star with the ball, with his nine wickets across the three ODIs seeing him named as player of the series.

"A pretty special week, to be able to repay that faith and perform the way I have, I'm really happy," Saqib said.

"I'll just take it as it comes, this time last week I was waiting to play for Lancashire, before you know it you're in an England shirt again, so I'll just take it as it comes."

England will name their squad for the upcoming Twenty20 series against Pakistan on Wednesday.

England completed a clean sweep of their ODI series with Pakistan as Ben Stokes' team mounted a record run chase at Edgbaston.

Set a target of 332 to win, England went into their innings knowing they would have to beat the previous record chase in an ODI in Birmingham by over 50 runs in order to seal a 3-0 series triumph.

Babar Azam's superb 158 had guided Pakistan into a commanding position, but James Vince's maiden ODI century and an impressive 77 from Lewis Gregory inspired the England side in front of a typically vociferous crowd.

And, on the eve of the two-year anniversary of England's World Cup triumph, Brydon Carse – who earlier took a five-wicket haul on his third ODI appearance – delivered the final blow to secure a three-wicket win for Stokes' second-string team.

England's hopes looked glum after Babar's sublime innings. The Pakistan captain came in after four overs, with Fakhar Zaman having fallen to Saqib Mahmood (3-60).

The skipper combined for a 92-run stand with Imam-ul-Haq (56) – bowled out by a magnificent Matt Parkinson delivery – before then mounting a third-wicket partnership worth 179 with Mohammad Rizwan, who plundered 74 off 58 balls.

Carse finally ended Babar's stand in the final over, with the paceman completing his haul two balls later by dismissing Shaheen Afridi for a duck.

Phil Salt followed his 60 at Lord's in emphatic fashion, hitting 16 runs off the first over to give England a fantastic start, though fellow opener Dawid Malan lasted just two deliveries.

Salt's snappy innings came to an end with England at 53-2, but that brought Vince to the crease.

Zak Crawley (39) and Stokes (32) offered support, but their dismissals were followed by England slumping to 165-5, meaning Vince had to provide some impetus.

With Gregory, Vince – who hit 11 boundaries – helped to put on a partnership of 129; by the time he clipped a Haris Rauf ball to mid-off to be out for 102, England needed 38 to win.

Gregory followed Vince to the pavilion soon after, but Craig Overton (18 not out) paved the way for Carse to cap a fine day with a boundary down the ground.

 

VINCE STAKES HIS CLAIM

For so long a nearly man of England's international set-up, Hampshire's Vince has taken his chance in this series.

He scored 56 at Lord's and finally got over the hurdle of a first international limited-overs hundred, to surely put himself right in the selectors' thoughts for England's next ODI series.

BABAR'S EFFORTS LET DOWN BY POOR FIELDING

An ODI career-best from Babar should have been enough to propel his team to victory, yet Pakistan let themselves down in the field.

Three huge chances went down, and their sloppiness was perhaps summed up best by Gregory's dismissal – Shadab Khan left arguing, albeit jovially, with his captain after having to take a catch which really should have been the wicketkeeper's.

The sides meet in a three-match Twenty20 series next, starting on Friday, and Pakistan must improve if they are to restore some pride.

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.

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).

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