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Euro 2020

Mourinho Tears Into England's Penalty Debacle

Jose Mourinho has asked some serious questions after 19-year-old Bukayo Saka was made to take the penalty that resulted in England losing the 2020 UEFA European Championship final to Italy on Sunday night.

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The Three Lions lost the Euro 2020 final to the Azzurri after a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout defeat, with Saka having his effort from 12 yards saved by 22-year-old Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to hand Roberto Mancini's side the victory.

Many have questioned Gareth Southgate's approach to the shootout after he brought Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on late in extra-time specifically for penalties. Saka, meanwhile, had come as a substitute in the second half of England and Italy's 1-1 draw.

Harry Kane and Harry Maguire took the Three Lions' first two spot-kicks, with two of the team's other senior figures – Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson – having been replaced as the game came to an end in 120 minutes.

Reacting to the match, Mourinho has admitted to being confused by the decisions taken by Southgate, and also insisted that it was unfair for Rashford, Sancho and Saka to have to step up.   

"I think that one is really something that I couldn't understand, then the decisions of the penalty takers, I think it's hard to leave, especially Saka, as the last one," the Portuguese tactician told talkSPORT.

"I think it's too much for a kid to have everything on his shoulders in this moment. But, I don't know, I'd have to ask that question to Gareth; I know that many, many times, what happens is players who should be there, they're not there.

"Players that should be there, they run away from the responsibility, and because I feel that Gareth is such an honest guy, such a protective coach of his group, his players.

"I don't believe that Gareth would ever say that player A or player B, they ran away, they hid or they told me that they were not ready to (take a penalty). In this situation, where was (Raheem) Sterling, where was (John) Stones, where was Luke Shaw? And why Henderson or Walker didn't stay on the pitch?

"In reality, it's very, very hard for Rashford or Sancho to come and take a penalty after one touch on the ball. For Saka to have the pressure of that penalty on his shoulders, I think it's too much.

"Some situations, there is no way to train them properly because you cannot train with the real pressure, the real pressure is something you only feel in that moment. Saka, I just feel very sorry for him, and that's it."

Here is how England's players reacted to losing the Euro final against Italy: 

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