The United States saw a 25-game winning streak in men's basketball at the Olympics come to an end as they were beaten by France in their first outing at Tokyo 2020.

Team USA arrived in Japan looking to strike gold for a fourth straight Games, yet their build-up had been anything but straightforward. Exhibition defeats to Australia and Nigeria raised concerns before travelling, while COVID-19 protocols ruled out Bradley Beal and Kevin Love was replaced at late notice by JaVale McGee.

Still, a squad including Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum – as well as Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday from the Milwaukee Bucks, the newly crowned NBA champions – saw the reigning champions listed as favourites.

France, though, caused an early upset at the start of the tournament. Evan Fournier starred with 28 points to help his team triumph 83-76 at the Saitama Super Arena.

There were wins for Australia and Italy too on Sunday, as well as a victory for the Czech Republic.

 

Big names come up short in shock defeat

Team USA had rounded out their build-up to the Games by beating Spain, yet there will be concerning signs for head coach Gregg Popovich following a flat performance against France.

They were successful with just 41 per cent of their two-point attempts and landed only 10 of the 32 shots put up from beyond the arc. Despite the shooting issues they still led 45-37 at half-time, only for the game to turn in a third quarter where they mustered a paltry 11 points.

Durant finished up with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, while Lillard had 11. The latter's slip that caused a turnover in the closing seconds when down by four rather summed up a disjointed performance from the entire roster, leading to a first loss at the Olympics since going down to Argentina at Athens 2004.

Devin Booker, who had helped the Phoenix Suns reach the NBA Finals, landed only one of his six attempts from the field, with Holiday (18 points) finishing as the USA's leading scorer having only joined up with the team on the day of the game.

Also in Group A, the Czech Republic recorded an 84-78 victory over Iran.

Ingles impressed, but Nigeria come up short

Nigeria had defeated both Argentina and the United States ahead of the Games, raising hopes of making an impact in Japan.

However, able to knock down just 29 per cent of their attempts from deep, they struggled to keep pace with Australia, scoring only 27 points in the entire second half as they went down 84-67.

Still, Joe Ingles – who had 11 points for Australia – praised the Nigerians for their display, particularly on defense as they forced 21 turnovers. Patty Mills was the leading scorer in the game, finishing with 25.

"You have to give a lot of credit to Nigeria, with how they played and the style they play," Ingles said. "They are up and in, they are athletic and get up the floor, and they obviously have a great coach [in Mike Brown].

"I think a lot of people underestimate the team and the country. They are a really good basketball team."

Meanwhile, Italy opened their Group B campaign with a 92-82 victory over Germany. Simone Fontecchio led the way with 20 points, including landing all five of his three-point attempts.

Italy and England combined to produce a nail-biting finale to Euro 2020, which was enjoyed by an average audience of 6.4 million viewers in the United States.

Those staggering viewership numbers meant the 2020 showpiece became the most-watched European Championship final in the USA, surpassing the previous record from the Euro 2012 final (4.5 million for Spain v Italy). Viewership increased 43 per cent on the 2016 final.

Even the first two games of the NBA Finals failed to produce better viewing figures, with the USA appearing to have savoured a memorable European Championship.

In fact, as Gianluigi Donnarumma's shoot-out heroics clinched Italy's first European Championship title since 1968, the audience in the United States peaked at 8.1 million, according to ESPN figures.

The final, as expected, had the most American viewers glued to their screens but Euro 2020 produced wholesale improvements throughout the tournament.

Across all 51 matches at Euro 2020, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 delivered an average viewership of 1.3 million, a 31 per cent increase on the previous edition in 2016.

The round-of-16 fixtures and semi-final clashes provided the most significant improvements from 2016, with those rounds producing 38 and 37 per cent increases to draw in 1.8 million and 2.5 million viewers on average respectively.

Roberto Mancini believes he and Gianluca Vialli came 'full circle' at Wembley Stadium, making amends for Sampdoria's European Cup final defeat against Barcelona by succeeding with Italy against England in the Euro 2020 final.

Mancini guided his country to their first European Championship triumph since 1968 with a shoot-out victory over Gareth Southgate's men, courtesy of Gianluigi Donnarumma's penalty-saving heroics.

Tasked with rebuilding after failing to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, Mancini led his side to a 34-game unbeaten run that culminated in the Euro 2020 success.

After the failure of 2018, the first year in which the Azzurri had failed to reach a World Cup since 1958, Mancini told SPORT1 "Italy was down".

"You [Italy] immediately felt that everyone wanted reparations and were ready to work their a***s for the country", the former Manchester City head coach added.

But Italy's title did not just represent success for this current crop of players, it also provided comfort for Mancini and the Azzurri's team delegation chief Vialli, who came up short with Sampdoria against Barcelona at Wembley in 1992.

"I still remember that game [the 1992 European Cup final] very well. We shouldn't have lost it, it wasn't deserved," said Mancini.

"But now the circle has come full. 30 years later. Madness! I'm also happy because this trophy also belongs to the Sampdoria fans to a certain extent. Unfortunately, they had to accept the bitter defeat at the time. Now the wounds are being healed."

Italy's impressive defence propelled them to their success as they conceded just four goals at Euro 2020, with England (two), Belgium and Finland (three each), the only teams able to boast better defensive records.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, whose 12 interceptions topped the defensive rankings alongside Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko, marshalled the backline in front of shoot-out hero Donnarumma and Mancini feels the pair deserve significant credit.

"Giorgio [Chiellini] and Leo [Bonucci], of course, have a very large part in our wonderful success. They deserve it so much because they represent 20 years of Italian football history," he explained.

The praise of Chiellini and Bonucci aside, Mancini batted off questions surrounding immortality and history to conclude: "This title is for all the Italians in our country.

"But it is also a gift to all Italians abroad. There is boundless joy right now."

Gianfranco Zola believes midfielder Jorginho would be a deserving winner of the Ballon d'Or despite Lionel Messi's claims on the award.

Jorginho finished the 2020-21 campaign as Chelsea's leading Premier League scorer with seven goals, albeit each of those came from the penalty spot.

He carried that form into Euro 2020, playing every game for Italy in their successful campaign that ended with a penalty shoot-out win over England at Wembley.

Jorginho actually missed from the spot in the final, but he otherwise enjoyed an impeccable tournament for the Azzurri.

The Brazilian-born player led the way in terms of interceptions at Euro 2020 with 25, substantially more than Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante (14), who was next best.

Meanwhile, Jorginho's 484 successful passes were bettered only by Spain's Aymeric Laporte (644), leading to seven chances being created for his team-mates. Only Azzurri colleague Lorenzo Insigne (40) was involved in more shot-ending sequences than his 38.

 

Barcelona's Messi, a six-time Ballon d'Or winner, finished as LaLiga's top scorer last season with 38 goals and 12 assists across all competitions before inspiring Argentina to glory in the Copa America.

Despite Messi's pedigree former Chelsea forward Zola – who earned 35 caps for Italy and scored 10 goals between 1991 and 1997 – backed Jorginho as a worthy challenger. 

"The Ballon d'Or is usually awarded to a striker or an offensive player who can score a lot," Zola told Stats Perform. 

"Now we are talking about a fantastic player like [Lionel] Messi who did extraordinary things for the first time with his national team – and this won’t go unnoticed. 

"Should they give it to Jorginho, it would be deserved. He gives concrete balance and pace to his teams. I was lucky to have him at Chelsea and I know what he does on the pitch.

"It would be deserved because not only were his performances at a high level, but the teams he played for have been outstanding. This must be taken into account."

The Football Association has commissioned an independent review into the "disgraceful scenes" that marred England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy at Wembley.

England suffered a 3-2 penalty shoot-out loss on home soil to Italy on July 11 following a 1-1 draw after extra time in their first major tournament final in 55 years.

The showpiece match was overshadowed by a security breach that saw a number of ticketless supporters enter the stadium and clash with fellow fans and stewards.

UEFA last week launched its own investigation and hit the FA with four charges relating to fan disorder, including the throwing of objects and the lighting of fireworks.

The unsavoury scenes prompted Julian Knight MP, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS), to write to FA CEO Mark Bullingham demanding answers.

And in a statement released on Monday, the FA has vowed to identify those responsible for the trouble before, during and after the game.

"We are determined to fully understand what happened outside and then inside Wembley Stadium at the Euro 2020 final on July 11," the statement read.

"We informed DCMS at the weekend that an independent review led by Baroness Casey of Blackstock has been commissioned to report on the facts and circumstances involved. 

"It will speak to all parties concerned and include external experts.

"A key emphasis of the findings will be to ensure that lessons are learned and such disgraceful scenes are never able to be repeated. 

"We continue to work with the relevant authorities in support of their efforts to identify those responsible and hold them to account."

The FA was also previously fined €30,000 (£25,630) by UEFA for the behaviour of supporters during the semi-final win against Denmark, which included a laser being shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is Euro 2020 winners Italy's star player and will be the best goalkeeper in the world for the next 10 to 15 years, according to Fabio Cannavaro.

The 22-year-old was named UEFA's Player of the Tournament for his penalty shoot-out heroics in Italy's victory over England in last Sunday's final at Wembley.

Donnarumma kept out efforts from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, after Marcus Rashford had earlier hit the post, as Italy ended their 53-year wait to win a second Euros crown.

He has won all five of the shoot-outs he has been involved in for club and country, having also made a crucial save in the semi-final shoot-out victory against Spain.

Italy legend Cannavaro believes Donnarumma answered any of his remaining critics with his displays at Euro 2020 and expects his compatriot to shine for at least the next decade. 

"Donnarumma is the real champion of this Azzurri side," Cannavaro told Tuttosport. "I am surprised that, before the Euros, some people thought he was an average goalkeeper. 

"There's nothing average about Gigio. Just think of the tranquillity he has at 22. He will be the best goalkeeper for the next 10 to 15 years."

Donnarumma played more minutes at Euro 2020 than any other player (719), missing only the closing stages of Italy's win against Wales in the group stage.

After spending time celebrating the Azzurri's triumph, the young keeper this week completed a free transfer from Milan to Paris Saint-Germain, where he will compete with Keylor Navas.

"At least we will enjoy him with the national team," Cannavaro added.

 

In his final season at San Siro, where he has spent his entire senior career to date, Donnarumma recorded a joint-high 14 Serie A clean sheets alongside Inter's Samir Handanovic.

While Italy ended a long wait for continental silverware last week, Argentina did likewise by claiming their first Copa America crown since 1993.

Lionel Messi was the star performer for Argentina, scoring four goals and assisting five more to win his first trophy at international level.

Despite Donnarumma's impressive displays for Italy, Cannavaro is backing Messi to win a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or crown later this year.

"He is the absolute number one and he was the protagonist of a great Copa America," Cannavaro said.

Italy are European champions and on a long unbeaten streak but should be even better by the time of the 2022 World Cup, according to former forward Gianfranco Zola.

The Azzurri have been transformed under Roberto Mancini since missing out on qualifying for the previous finals in Russia.

Mancini's men won the Euro 2020 final against England on penalties and are now undefeated in 34 matches, the longest run in the team's history.

However, Zola – who earned 35 caps and scored 10 goals between 1991 and 1997 – sees an even brighter future for Italian football.

Despite including 34-year-old Leonardo Bonucci (the oldest scorer in Euros final history) and 36-year-old captain Giorgio Chiellini (the third-oldest player in final history), Italy named only the 12th-oldest squad at the tournament.

"To get into Mancini's shoes and give him hints on how to improve this team is out of question and risky," Chelsea great Zola told Stats Perform.

"As it is, this squad will be even more competitive in the World Cup.

"They will grow in confidence and improve even further because most of the players are young. To me, they will get to an even higher level."

An already impressive Azzurri midfield could also be boosted by the return from injury of Nicolo Zaniolo, the 22-year-old who has not played since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in action against the Netherlands in September 2020.

That was the Roma man's second ACL tear in eight months – having suffered the same injury to his right knee – and checked the progress of a promising career.

 

In 69 appearances for Roma, Zaniolo has scored 14 goals and laid on six assists from 55 chances created. He has also netted twice in seven senior caps at international level.

"Then [in 2022] some players like Zaniolo will be available," Zola added. "If his injuries [have been] absorbed, he will be an important player to give the contribution needed to make this squad even better

"And, to me, some other youngsters will shine, because the long wave of enthusiasm given by this trophy will make many youngsters step up.

"Italy will be competitive at the World Cup – no hints needed for Mancini."

But Zola also anticipates another challenge from beaten Euro 2020 opponents England, who reached their first major tournament final in 55 years.

The average age Three Lions' line-up for the final (26y 328d) was almost two years younger than Italy's (28y 272d) and they also have room to grow.

"It is an extremely young and talented squad," Zola said. "England can only grow and this defeat won't be a problem.

"England, like Italy and Spain, boast many young lads with such room to improve. Let's not forget that England often kept out players like [Jadon] Sancho, [Marcus] Rashford and [Phil] Foden that are very important.

"I would be surprised if England weren't a team to beat in Qatar. They have a bright future."

Gianfranco Zola believes there is little prospect of social media platforms becoming safe spaces for sports stars, warning: "Bad people will always be there."

England footballers Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were subjected to racist abuse online after their penalty shoot-out misses in the Euro 2020 final.

Those failures from the spot helped Italy to land their second European Championship triumph.

There have been calls for the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to police their platforms more effectively, with 19-year-old Saka urging the three tech giants to each step up their game.

Former Italy and Chelsea forward Zola told Stats Perform: "Racial abuse is unjustifiable, unforgivable and unacceptable. I reckon that youngsters have to understand very quick that not all people they come across on social media are good.

"They use it to provoke, insult, abuse and vent their daily frustrations. We have to get used to it and learn how to isolate from this. Especially young people who are famous like footballers.

"These are all unjustifiable attacks but we have to learn how to isolate from it all because these bad people will always be there."

Zola, who enjoyed a seven-year spell at Chelsea and collected 35 caps for the Azzurri, explained there is a "dark side of social media".

He said: "Many people use [social media] in an absurd way and can cause damage to kids who are on social media and are not ready to accept all this.

"If you are into social media, you have to be aware these can be used by people to insult and destabilise. This is the dark side."

Gianfranco Zola has claimed England boss Gareth Southgate was "too conservative too soon" in the Euro 2020 final and suffered the inevitable consequences.

Italy's penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley on Sunday has been followed by reports that Southgate could soon be knighted.

That is despite his team falling short when they had home advantage, failing to build on Luke Shaw's second-minute strike that was the earliest goal scored in a European Championship final.

Roberto Mancini's impressive Italy had 19 shots to England's six over the 120 minutes, while also enjoying 65.4 per cent of possession. The Azzurri finished with an expected goals score of 2.16 compared to England's meagre 0.55, underlining their dominance of the chances.

Leonardo Bonucci's second-half equaliser was followed by Italy edging a nervy battle on spot-kicks to land the trophy for the first time since 1968, and Zola sensed England retreated too quickly into their shell.

"Maybe Southgate was a bit too conservative because England boast important players at the highest level," Zola told Stats Perform.

"They were doubtlessly advantaged and having scored after just two minutes gave them further advantages. But especially in the second half, they started defending the goal cushion too early, defending so deep – as they say in England – enabling Italy to find their pace and plays and the equaliser was a natural consequence.

"So Southgate was too conservative too soon.

"Mancini on the other hand was so good. All the subs proved him right. When he subbed [Nicolo] Barella I was expecting more [Manuel] Locatelli than [Bryan] Cristante, but he got that right too as the team kept their pace high, producing quality."

 

Former Italy forward Zola, who won 35 caps for the Azzurri, was surprised by how little influence England's Mason Mount had on the final.

Mount has been impressive in the Premier League for Chelsea, the club where Zola was such a favourite in a seven-year spell from 1996 to 2003.

But in 99 minutes of action against Italy, before being substituted, Mount had only 36 touches of the ball and completed just 15 of 22 passes for a 68.2 per cent success rate. All of Italy's starting XI had a higher percentage than Mount achieved, with Federico Chiesa's 77.8 per cent their lowest mark.

Chiesa was far more threatening than Mount, who was given an advanced midfield role by Southgate, operating just behind Harry Kane but barely having any influence on the game.

In 54 games for Chelsea last season, across all competitions, Mount scored nine goals, had eight assists and created 109 chances. The 22-year-old had one assist in 464 minutes of action at the Euros, creating eight chances over the tournament.

"For sure after what he had shown in the Premier League, in the Champions League and even in the friendlies ahead of the Euros, he didn't shine," Zola said.

"He is young and the long season with Chelsea where he always played may have had an impact on his sub-par performance. Yet, he is a very skilful player and this experience will help him become better and stronger.

"As I am told, he is a level-headed kind of guy so this experience will help him for sure."

Inter director Beppe Marotta is bullish about retaining the bulk of the Italian champions' squad for the 2021-22 season, saying "90 per cent will be confirmed".

Title-winning head coach Antonio Conte was replaced by Simone Inzaghi already this off-season, with reports his departure was due to the club's need to cut operating costs.

That situation has also led to questions about Inter's transfer business this off-season and ability to retain their squad, with Achraf Hakimi already being sold to Paris Saint-Germain for €60m while Ashley Young has left for Aston Villa.

“We start from a squad that won the Scudetto and will 90 per cent be confirmed for this season, so that is a very important foundation to build on," Marotta told DAZN.

“We’ll now work to complete the squad in relation to Hakimi’s departure by being creative, as it’s difficult for any club right now to get involved in economically expensive deals.”

Inter have been linked with PSV Eindhoven talent Denzel Dumfries along with Arsenal's Hector Bellerin.

"There are many names, it’s too early to try predicting what will happen now," he said on the speculation.

The Nerazzurri have added Matteo Darmian, Zinho Vanheusden and Hakan Calhanoglu this off-season, with the latter joining as a free agent from rivals Milan.

"It was not an insult towards Milan, he was just a player who was a free agent," Marotta said. "Maybe next time it’ll be Milan who take a player when his contract with Inter expires."

Marotta was pressed on Christian Eriksen after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, creating doubts about his club career.

The Inter director said the situation would be analysed as the Danish midfielder recovers.

Giorgio Chiellini's agent says they are waiting on Juventus to discuss a new contract, calling any retirement talk for Italy's Euro 2020 winning captain as "madness".

Chiellini, who turns 37 next month, is a free agent after his Juventus contract expired at the start of this month.

The veteran defender has been focusing on Italy's triumphant Euro 2020 campaign over the past month.

It has been widely expected Chiellini will sign on with the Old Lady for the 2021-22 season although his agent Davide Lippi revealed talks have not begun and they are open to offers from other clubs.

“It takes two to sign a contract,” agent Davide Lippi told Radio Radio.

“Giorgio went to the Euros and focused exclusively on that. There’s no problem with Juventus, we said we’d meet up later in the summer, but we haven’t yet sat down to discuss a renewal.”

On offers from other clubs, Lippi added: “They’d have to make the offer first. As of today, there is nobody. We are waiting for Juventus to tell us when we can sit down and have a chat.”

Lippi also moved to rubbish any talk of Chiellini hanging up the boots, fresh from Italy's continental triumph.

Chiellini has made 535 appearances for Juventus since joining the Serie A club in 2004, as well as 112 caps for the Azzurri.

The central defender, who returned within six months after tearing his ACL in 2019, has won the Scudetto with Juve nine times, as well as five Coppa Italia titles.

“Thinking of Chiellini away from the playing field at this moment is madness," Lippi said.

"What he did after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament is incredible. What fuels him is passion and we saw in the Euros that the passion is still strong.

“He was a symbol of Juventus for many years and we are waiting for a club. Nobody has called, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, as he’s the only free agent in the Italy squad now.”

Chris Waddle believes England will not get a better chance to win a major tournament following their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy.

The Three Lions suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak on Sunday as the Azzurri prevailed 3-2 on spot-kicks at Wembley.

It was an agonising defeat for Gareth Southgate, who had guided England to their first major final in 55 years – and first at the European Championship.

Southgate's side conceded just a single goaleon route to the showpiece, becoming the first nation to begin a Euros campaign with five successive clean sheets along the way.

However, a first trophy since the 1966 World Cup narrowly eluded the Three Lions after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Buyako Saka all missed from 12 yards out.

Former England winger Waddle was part of Bobby Robson's side that reached the 1990 World Cup semi-finals, before losing to West Germany on penalties.

And the 60-year-old, who along with Stuart Pearce was unsuccessful from the spot in that defeat, thinks his nation will struggle for a better opportunity to end their long wait for major silverware.

Jadon Sancho has broken his silence following the Euro 2020 final penalty miss that saw him become the subject of racist abuse.

The England winger was introduced in the final moments of extra time against Italy on Sunday with the game level at 1-1.

Sancho and fellow substitute Marcus Rashford were seemingly introduced with a shoot-out in mind and both were included among England's first five takers.

But after Rashford hit the post with the third kick, cancelling out the Three Lions' early advantage, Sancho's spot-kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Italy goalkeeper also denied Bukayo Saka to complete a 3-2 Azzurri win and condemn England to another shoot-out failure – their seventh in nine attempts at major tournaments.

Racist abuse was directed at the three England players on social media in the aftermath, prompting a strong reaction from their team-mates, Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.

Rashford addressed the support he received from fans after a mural depicting the Manchester United forward, which was vandalised after the match, was covered in messages from well-wishers.

Sancho – reported to be undergoing a medical at United after a move from Borussia Dortmund was agreed – and Saka had not posted publicly until Wednesday, however.

Unlike Rashford, who acknowledged "something didn't feel quite right", Sancho said he felt confident from 12 yards. He has scored all three attempts for Dortmund (excluding shoot-outs).

But the 21-year-old sought to address what went wrong in a lengthy Instagram post and then turned his attention to the vile abuse.

"I've had a couple of days to reflect on Sunday's final and still feel a mix of emotions," Sancho wrote.

 

"I would like to say sorry to all my team-mates, coaching staff and most of all the fans who I let down. This is by far the worst feeling I've felt in my career.

"It's hard to even put into words the real feeling, but there were so many positives to take away from this tournament though the defeat will hurt for a long time.

"My first thought before going into any football match is always: 'How can I help my team? How am I going to assist? How am I going to score? How am I going to create chances?'

"And that's exactly what I wanted to do with that penalty, help the team.

"I was ready and confident to take it, these are the moments you dream of as a kid, it is why I play football. These are the pressured situations you want to be under as a footballer.

"I've scored penalties before at club level, I've practiced them countless times for both club and country, so I picked my corner but it just wasn't meant to be this time.

"We all had the same ambitions and objectives. We wanted to bring the trophy home.

"This has been one of the most enjoyable camps I've been part of in my career so far, the togetherness of the team has been unmatched, a real family on and off the pitch.

"I'm not going pretend that I didn't see the racial abuse that me and my brothers Marcus and Bukayo received after the game, but sadly it's nothing new.

"As a society we need to do better, and hold these people accountable.

"Hate will never win. To all the young people who have received similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.

"I am proud of this England team and how we have united the whole nation in what has been a difficult 18 months for so many people.

"Much as we wanted to win the tournament, we will build and learn from this experience going forward.

"I want to say a massive thank you for all the positive messages and love and support that far outweighed the negative.

"It's been an honour as always representing England and wearing the Three Lions shirt, and I have no doubt we'll be back even stronger! Stay safe and see you soon."

England defender Harry Maguire says he is not surprised by the "terrible" racist abuse directed towards England team-mates Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

Rashford, Sancho and Saka all missed from 12 yards as England went down to a 3-2 penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final, which finished 1-1 after extra time.

The trio were quickly subjected to vile abuse on social media, while a mural of Rashford in his native Withington was defaced.

People flocked to the artwork in the Manchester suburb to attach messages of support and admiration for Rashford, who campaigned successfully for free school meals provision to be extended for struggling families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those scenes were representative of an outpouring of support for the three England players and Gareth Southgate's squad as a whole, with Maguire – whose successful penalty clattered into the top corner and broke the in-net camera – praising their bravery under intense pressure.

"It does not surprise me," he told the Sun when addressing the racist abuse. "For the three lads who have given everything for the country and been so brave to get this is terrible.

"When I was 19 or 20, I would have been standing there saying 'I don't want to take one'.

"So, look at the courage and bravery of these young lads, look at the age of Bukayo, Jadon and Marcus.

"The things I have gone through have made me more confident and have given me belief.

"These people who are being abusive would not be able to handle the pressure.

"It is the highest amount of pressure you will feel, so to do it at their age and to show such bravery should be applauded.

"I spoke with the three lads afterwards. I have checked up with them and seen how they are, but they are courageous lads.

"They should be applauded rather than criticised."

If the awful slurs directed towards Rashford, Sancho and Saka were the focus of attention after the match, beforehand numerous instances of disorder involving fans outside and around Wembley amounted to a dark day for English football.

Some supporters gained access to the stadium without tickets and videos showing violence between fans were rife on social media.

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to incidents inside Wembley, with events surrounding the ground also set to be investigated.

The whole affair does no favours for a mooted England and Ireland joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup, although matters struck much closer to home for Maguire, whose father was trampled and left with two suspected broken ribs after – according to The Sun – ticketless fans gained access through a disabled entrance.

"My dad was in the stampede. I have not spoken with him too much, but I am pleased my kids didn't go to the game," the Manchester United centre-back said.

"It was scary. He said he was scared and I don't want anyone to experience that at a football match.

"It was not a nice experience; it shook him up. But he was fortunate as every game he has been to, he has had my nephew or one of my kids on his shoulders.

"So, I'm thankful that did not happen as it could have been a really serious moment."

Chris Waddle believes it is "embarrassing" that so much focus is put on England's failures in penalty shoot-outs.

England's hopes of ending their 55-year wait for a major trophy were dashed in Sunday's Euro 2020 final when Italy prevailed on spot-kicks at Wembley.

The Three Lions won their previous major tournament shoot-out against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup and then beat Switzerland by the same method at the Nations League Finals.

Manager Gareth Southgate, who famously missed from 12 yards in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany, has worked hard to improve his team's processes.

But Marcus Rashford's shot against the post and Gianluigi Donnarumma's saves from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka handed England their seventh shoot-out defeat in nine at World Cups and European Championships. That is the worst record of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.

The first of those saw West Germany eliminate England at the 1990 World Cup after Waddle blazed his penalty over the crossbar.

But the former Newcastle United, Tottenham and Marseille winger says he was better for the experience and feels too much attention is paid to spot-kicks.

Kylian Mbappe and Alvaro Morata were other high-profile players to cost their sides in shoot-outs at Euro 2020, while only nine of the 17 attempts outside shoot-outs were converted.

"For me personally, when I missed mine, and I'm sure Stuart Pearce probably can say the same, we went on to be stronger players," Waddle told Stats Perform.

"I won three French titles, came back to England and had two cup finals with Sheffield Wednesday, could've won one. I won Footballer of the Year. Things went great.

"I was determined it wasn't going to play on my mind, I was determined that I would never crawl into a corner and hide away.

"I missed a pen. Who hasn't? Yeah, people might say the magnitude of the game obviously got more publicity than [it] normally would, but they've all missed.

"You can go through other players. I don't really know a player who's had a 100 per cent record at penalties.

"So, yeah, you can say this game is different from that game and that game, but overall, you can go through the greatest players in your mind and they've missed. You move on. It's life.

"It's a horrible way to lose a game. People say to me it's a pen, it's 12 yards out, you've got a free shot. It doesn't work like that.

"You can mis-hit it, you can hit it too well, you can get the wrong idea, the goalie guesses the right way.

"You know, we make so much [of it]. We're the only country in the world, by the way, who make such a thing about penalty kicks.

"When I was in France, if they go out, it's not even mentioned. It's like history. 'We shouldn't have been in that position, the game should have been decided in 120 minutes'. You've got 120 minutes to win a football match.

"I've seen a lot of teams lose and go out of tournaments to it; that's the end of it, you move on.

"And the more we talk about Saka, Sancho, Rashford, it's not helping them, it's not helping England, so move on.

"We know it's a common occurrence people do miss pens. We see it in the Premier League, we saw in this tournament: the first seven pens, four were missed. It happens.

"You know, we make such a deal of it. And it's embarrassing, really, I've got to say."

Sunday's match was the second example – after the 2006 World Cup loss to Portugal – of England failing with three penalties in a single shoot-out, and Southgate's decision to name Rashford, Sancho and Saka in his order has been questioned.

Outside of shoot-outs, Rashford had scored nine of 11 attempts for Manchester United and three of three for England. Sancho scored all three of his for Borussia Dortmund.

But they were introduced specifically for penalties with just moments remaining in extra time, while Saka, just 19, had never previously taken a senior spot-kick.

Waddle said: "It sort of backfired, didn't it?

"All Gareth can go off is he's experienced the same scenario as what happened to the players. In training there is no way you can compare.

"That's why people say to me, 'Did you practise in training in 1990?'. No, we didn't really. And people said we should have.

"Now they've practised probably more than any team in the competition. And they've lost.

"You can't sort of play that part of walking from the centre spot to the penalty spot to take a pen in a major competition where there's 60,000 there.

"And you remember you've got 30, 40, 50 million, maybe more around Europe and the world, watching this game. So, you just can't do it.

"The training ground is nowhere near a proper match in a proper penalty shoot-out. There's no comparison to a training ground.

"Now obviously Gareth saw them in the training; by the looks of it, probably Saka has never missed on the training ground.

"But it's a different proposition when you're walking there, the pressure's on and I can see why people said experienced players should've [gone ahead of Saka].

"Gareth said that was his call, he saw the penalty takers through the tournament practising and they were the ones who caught his eye. So, all he can go off is what he saw.

"And I don't think there's any way around [that]. People said it should have been [Jordan] Henderson and it should have been [Jack] Grealish or it should have been [John] Stones or whoever.

"You can only go with what you see on your eye, and if the player says yes. So, when he's gone, 'You, you, you', and they've gone, 'Yes, yes, yes', that's out of Gareth's hands then.

"And if any player was in any doubt, or slightly in doubt, he should have said it doesn't feel right. And somebody else I'm sure would have said, 'Yeah, I'll have it'.

"We'll learn from that; hopefully Gareth will learn from that. The players will. It's a horrible way to lose."

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