England really don’t like penalty shootouts at European Championships, do they?
The Three Lions experienced yet more heartbreak in the final of Euro 2020 last Sunday evening, with Italy emerging victorious at Wembley in rather dramatic circumstances.
Roberto Mancini’s side won the penalty shootout 3-2 to triumph at the prestigious international tournament for the second time in their history.
England failed to convert their final three spot kicks, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka the players unable to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma from 12 yards.
The decision to hand 19-year-old Saka the fifth penalty is one that has been heavily criticised in the aftermath of the game.
England vs Italy match reaction (Football Terrace)
Both Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish were available to take spot kicks, but neither were called upon by Gareth Southgate.
In fact, the pair would not have stepped up for a while even if Saka had converted and taken the shootout to sudden-death.
That’s because footage appears to show that Southgate chose goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as England’s sixth penalty taker.
Check out the intriguing video for yourself:
Southgate goes up to Rashford, Sancho and Saka, before having a word with Pickford, which would suggest that the Everton shot-stopper was sixth on the manager’s list.
Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips then appears to be nominated for the seventh penalty by the England boss.
So there you have it, even if Saka had scored after Pickford’s heroics versus Jorginho and prolonged the shootout, Grealish and Sterling would not have been embarking on the dreaded walk to the spot for at least the next two penalties.
It was certainly a bold call by Southgate, although both players are not exactly renowned for their brilliance from 12 yards.
Grealish has never taken a penalty outside of a shootout, while Sterling has taken five in his career and missed three of them.