It's not the end for England - now focus must be on World Cup

Football game action shot

Euro 2020 final action - Credit: PA

The Euro 2020 is over but a month of football I’m sure we will always remember.

Unfortunately it was penalty heartbreak again for England and Gareth Southgate in a crushing defeat to Italy in Euro 2020 final. The disappointment and pain of another defeat was overwhelming as England lost on penalties 3-2 
On the night I have to say that the best team won and a lot of the credit must go to Roberto Mancini whose substitutions and team management on the night was outstanding.

Following an early set back with England going 1-0 up his team responded to the various changes he made to his front line formation and each substitution he introduced made an impact on the game.

They play a very courageous and brave game always looking to play out from the back drawing teams onto them allowing their outstanding two midfield players Jorginho and Verratti to get on the ball to create and develop play in a very controlled manner even when under pressure.

I believe there biggest strength is they play as a team and have a clear understanding of each other’s strengths which has obviously been developed over a period of 34 matches undefeated.     
The Euro 2020 has been a huge success and the achievement of England reaching a major tournament final for the first time in 55 years has played its part in bringing our country back together to some kind of normality, lifting the nation’s spirits following 18 months and more of trying to come to terms and deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. 
 In the midst of disappointment for England, there was a feeling of hope and inkling that this could be the start of a new chapter.

With a young team of very talented players, with the experience of playing in a major tournament now behind them you hope this can lead to an exciting future for our national team.

Following defeat there is always a learning curve and an in-depth analysing of the game. I’m sure many lessons will be learnt from the defeat against Italy and hopefully we will improve from the experience.

England will need to learn from the experience and begin to plan and respond to a setback. Take heart from the Italian’s response to a setback, winning these Euros after an all-time low of failing even to reach the 2018 World Cup.

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I can remember it described as the “apocalypse” in the Italian media. On the cover of Gazetta dello Sport, the headline read. “The End”.  Three years later, Roberto Mancini has turned them into the best team in Europe

Gareth Southgate will be able to reflect on the achievement of reaching the final and talk about the progress of his young side and how they have made the country unite behind them, but I’m sure deep down there will also be a cold, cruel and painful realisation that the chance to win Euro 2020 on our own patch has been lost.

The job and focus must now turn to preparing for the World Cup in 16 months’ time giving our National team the opportunity to go again and play in the greatest tournament on earth THE WORLD CUP. I can’t wait – Come on England