Euros 2020 Final: What went wrong and what England could have done differently
You could say that tactical flexibility was one of the famous things in Euros 2020 that pushed the English national team side this far in this competition – the ability of head coach Gareth Southgate to tweak between back threes and back fours and set out his team in different shapes and styles in respect to the midfield and attack combos was excellent in exposing their opponent’s weakness and nullifying their strengths.
30minutes into the game in the first half of the final, it was looking more like the England manager had got the mojo right once again. The surprise wing-back approach was efficient in stretching the Azzurri across the pitch in possession and it also left England with more army at the back in taking out any attacking threats the Italian team threw at them. Luke Shaw’s early goal was a product of this – defending so well and stretching the Italians.
But the moment Italy found their rhythm and got control of possession before half-time. they began to put the English side under intense pressure, turning their back-three system into back-five as a result of pinning down the wing-backs of the Three Lions (preventing them from causing further havoc attacking wise in the Italian half.)
The deserving equalizer by the Italian team by Leonardo Bonucci was expected sooner or later into the game in the second half not only because Italy was the better side asking questions going forward but also because the English side allowed the Azzurri’s midfielders to dictate far too long in their deep-lying defence.
Though Southgate decided to change to 4-3-3 when he brought on Bukayo Saka after the Italian got their goal and things almost started happening for England and one could easily identify the positive difference in the English side when they got an extra man in the middle of the park and the likes of Bukayo Saka was pushed up front to make the best out of his pace beating the Italian defenders.
But England has been passive for too long in the game and the delayed decision from the coach could also be traced back to the early success he got in the wing-back system approach when the game first began.
And also in the penalty shootout, although penalties might be a game of luck a more experienced senior player that is very proficient in handling penalties should have been given the responsibility of being the last penalty taker and not a young lad in Bukayo Saka that’s just being called up for the first time in a major tournament.