Report reveals ‘league table’ chose England penalty takers

Gareth Southgate used a ‘league table’ to decide who would be taking penalties for England in their Euro 2020 final shoot-out loss to Italy.

England lost on penalties to Italy at Wembley on Sunday evening to further extend their 55 years of hurt.

In what was a first appearance in a major final since winning the World Cup in 1966, Southgate saw Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka miss their spot-kicks as Italy won the shoot-out 3-2 following a 1-1 draw.

Football365’s pre-Euro 2020 predictions revisited

Reaching the final itself will be seen as an achievement and was a step further than a semi-final defeat at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Southgate had one of the youngest squads at Euro 2020 – the three players who missed their penalties were 23, 21 and 19 respectively – and giving Saka the crucial spot-kick on Sunday drew criticism from some.

The Daily Mail claims:

‘Southgate’s controversial selection of Saka was based on the players’ performances from the spot in training last season, the results of which were monitored and logged.

‘Training has concluded with penalty practice at every session since September, when players met for international duty in UEFA Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.

‘Assistant coach Steve Holland kept a record of all their efforts, creating a league table of penalty-takers.

‘Saka was called up to the squad for the first time for a friendly against Wales last October and has consistently outperformed more experienced penalty-takers in training, as have Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who also failed against Italy’s 6ft 5in goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.’

Southgate, though, is convinced the younger players in the squad, especially the ones that missed penalties, can come bouncing back for the World Cup in Qatar.

“The younger ones especially, well all of this team, can go again,” Southgate said. “There’s no doubt about that, but the young ones are still two, four years from peaking.

“We’ve got 18, 19, 20 year-olds who have done an incredible job and had a great insight into tournament football and acquitted themselves well throughout.

“There are a huge number of positives from that and those players will be far better for going through so many important wins, so many important landmarks that they’ve set with historic performances.

“In the main they’ve performed under huge pressure of being at home for the majority of the tournament, being one of the favourites.”


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