Expert: England can go one level up with penalty performance in Qatar
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England midfielder Declan Rice has spoken of his disappointment after Sunday evening’s Euro 2020 final defeat in a lengthy statement on Twitter. The 22-year-old started the match against Italy but was unable to prevent the Azzurri from sealing a memorable win under the lights at Wembley after a tense penalty shoot-out.
England made a dream start to proceedings through Luke Shaw’s early goal but were pegged back by Leonardo Bonucci after the interval to force extra-time.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock and the game was forced to a nerve-shredding shoot-out, with Bukayo Saka seeing his decisive spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to hand the Italians a first European triumph in 53 years.
The result saw England spurn a golden opportunity to claim major international honours for the first time since their famous World Cup win back in 1966.
Gareth Southgate’s side played valiantly but ultimately came up short, with Italy’s win by the narrowest of margins a reflection of the balance of power during the 120 minutes of on-pitch action.
Rice, who was substituted after 74 minutes of Sunday’s final, spoke at length about the match and England’s tournament in general with a statement posted to social media on Monday evening.
He underlined his immense pride in the group despite their heartbreak at the final hurdle, suggesting that the Three Lions could finally roar once again at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
“It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling this evening,” began Rice.
“I’m of course absolutely devastated with the result last night and need some time now to process the massive disappointment we are all feeling.
“To get so close is heartbreaking, and I know all of us around the country are hurting. However, the biggest emotion I am feeling is pride.
“I am so proud to be a part of this squad. The last four weeks I’ve had the best time of my entire life and the journey we have all been on together as players, management, staff, fans and as a nation has been special.
“It’s been a true honour to represent our country at a major tournament and together we’ve all created memories that will last a lifetime.
“We win together and lose together, and although it’s painful today this is just the start for this squad and we will be back better, stronger and ready to go again.
“Thank you so much to everyone around the country for the incredible support of all of us during the whole tournament.
“Seeing everyone come together as we have over the last month has been amazing and I know there are great days ahead. We are all hungry for success and the future is bright for this group!”
Rice emerged as a vital cog in the machine for England at the Euros, starting every single game at the tournament alongside Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips in the middle of the park.
The West Ham United skipper managed one attempt on goal, made 10 tackles and 28 ball recoveries, covered nearly 63km and committed six fouls during the competition.
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