It’s not coming home but England has reason to be optimistic

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It didn’t come home, nothing comes home. Instead, a battle-hardened Italian team erased England’s insane Euro 2020 dreams and ended their Wembley party in the most gruesome way with a penalty shoot-out loss in Sunday’s final.

While the Italian players sang and danced, kissed and cried, bathed in sparkling ticker tape, it was another bad morning for the English.

All of England was full of hope and expectation, but the Italians had the last word and took advantage of it.

“It is a unique pleasure to see 58,000 people before the trophy is presented,” said Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci dryly.

“Now the cup is coming to Rome. They thought it stayed here, I’m sorry for them, but Italy has taught a lesson yet again.

“While Italy is adding two European championships to its four World Cup triumphs, England’s waiting for cutlery extends into the 56th year.

The English have had no success since their only World Cup triumph in 1966, but they could hardly have come closer with a number of exciting players who have put their fun and pride back into the Three Lions jersey.

CALLOW WEAKNESSES

It was just their bad luck that they met an enthusiastic Italian team whose experience countered England’s sometimes bleak weaknesses perfectly.

It all started so well for the hosts when they took the lead within two minutes with a crisp goal from Luke Shaw, but were then overtaken by a smarter, more experienced team that night.

With all the dizzying excitement and promise made by England’s youngsters, it ultimately came to a test of nerves and three of England’s youngsters were found defective when the stake was at stake.

Whether 19-year-old Bukayo Saka and newly substituted 23-year-old Marcus Rashford and 21-year-old Jadon Sancho should have failed on penalties is a debate that will rage.

In the shooting, they all missed and the dream was over. A look at social media shows that the Anyone But England Brigade has grown in number over the course of this tournament. Troubling shots of shirtless men being fueled with lager beer and tearing up city center seats ahead of the finals won’t have done anything to get the English fans neutral.

The streets around the stadium were already slippery with beer, broken glass crunched underfoot hours before kick-off, but there was real optimism in the ground and only the hardest of hearts would not feel for this English team.

SOCIAL DISHAMONY

Sport is sometimes accused of exaggerating its ability to change society. However, it is an exaggeration to suggest that these footballers united a nation torn by political and social disharmony, they played with a joy that lifted the spirits of a country that, by its decision to leave the European Union, is still bitterly divided by the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authors of this ubiquitous Three Lions song, which promised “It’s coming home”, referred to “30 Years of Pain” in this track, which was originally released before the € 96 mark. You can almost double that stage of sporting misery now, but England is just getting closer and closer.

The dark days of the 1970s – when England’s deflated footballers sat at home and watched Haiti, Zaire and Australia compete in World Cups for which they did not qualify – are long forgotten, as are the recent days when they were for England it seemed more of an ordeal than an honor to enjoy.

This young English group and their manager Gareth Southgate have done a lot to put the English football team in a more positive light and they will have more chances to go one step further on the biggest stages.