England will have to wait a little longer for football to come home.
Heartbreak for England
The hearts of everyone across the country shattered on Sunday night when the Three Lions once again tasted defeat in a penalty shootout, coming up short against Italy at Wembley Stadium.
Goals from Luke Shaw and Leonardo Bonucci had taken the game all the way to the dreaded lottery, only for five players across the two nations to see their efforts from 12 yards denied.
But despite the miscues of Andrea Belotti and Jorginho for the Azzurri, England simply couldn’t find the net once Harry Kane and Harry Maguire had gotten the hosts off to such an emphatic start.
Italy vs England match reaction | Euro 2020 (Football Terrace)
Saka misses crucial penalty
Marcus Rashford saw his effort strike the upright and Jadon Sancho forced a comfortable save from Gianluigi Donnarumma, before Bukayo Saka, just 19 years old, stepped up for the crucial spot-kick.
Although the crowd were still bouncing from Jordan Pickford keeping England in the shootout, the disappointment quickly took over as Saka saw his effort batted away by the Italian shot-stopper.
It was a heartbreaking moment for such a young player who has been nothing of fantastic at Euro 2020, surprising many by rightfully earning himself starts in some of England’s biggest games.
Support for Saka
And while some cowardly fans have reacted to Saka’s unfortunate miss with hideous racist abuse, you cannot fault how the England players themselves rallied around the Arsenal youngster.
Various members of the Three Lions squad were seen comforting Saka on the pitch and Gareth Southgate, who knows all-too well about penalty heartbreak, also offered a shoulder to cry on.
However, special praise must be reserved for Kalvin Phillips because footage from Wembley has revealed the remarkable selflessness of the England hero as soon as Saka’s penalty was saved.
Phillips’ selfless reaction
You’d forgive every single England player for wanting to wallow in their own sorrows so soon after defeat was confirmed, but Phillips made sure that Saka quickly got the support that he needed.
Be sure to check out the emotional video down below that shows Phillips jogging his way towards the torrent of Italian celebrations mere seconds after Saka’s miss in order to reach him.
Should we be surprised? Absolutely not because Phillips has been nothing short of heroic this summer.
Phillips: An England hero
While the Leeds United man’s rise to the England squad certainly raised a few eyebrows last year, Southgate has been emphatically vindicated with Phillips thriving on the international scene.
A swashbuckling performance against Croatia was undoubtedly his magnum opus, but make no mistake that the 25-year-old has thrived alongside Declan Rice all tournament long.
It has made for an inspirational run to the final that has been given extra emotional resonance by way of his moving remembrance of Val Crosby who tragically passed away earlier this year.
Phillips has done ‘Granny Val’ incredibly proud, just like he has the rest of the country, with his immediate support for Saka arguably saying as much about him as all those heroic displays.