Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties to win the Euro 2020 final after the scores were tied 1-1 after extra-time.
SOME things it seems even Gareth Southgate cannot change. Another brave England performance, another agonising night for the nation. The players were younger, less experienced but a much more relatable bunch than their predecessors, but still that was not enough. Jordan Pickford looked like being the hero, saving from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho to keep England in it after Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho missed.
But Bukayo Saka – the embodiment of Southgate’s young England, saw his final kick saved and that was it.
Still that major crown remains determinedly elusive and it is Italy who can lay claim to being kings of Europe as they paraded the trophy in front of their delighted fans.
In 1966, the young Queen was here in person to hand out the football honours.
This time she sent the future of the Royal Family in the shape of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George… and a message.
“I send my good wishes with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves,” she wrote in a letter of Gareth Southgate.
No scoreline alone – whether it is positive or negative – is ever going to reflect that, but safe to say, Your Majesty, it is a night that always should certainly be remembered for all those qualities.
From the opening ceremony, it was a night that – when the emotional roller-coaster, which must eventually grind to a halt at some point during today’s national hangover – should have filled everybody with patriotic hope.