Italy have beaten England on penalties to win the European Championships in a nail-biting final at Wembley, after the game finished 1-1 following extra time.
Bukayo Sako, at just 19-years-old, was tasked with England’s final spot kick but it was saved by Italy’s goalkeeper, leading the Azzurri to win 3-2 on penalties.
Sako burst into tears, as did 21-year-old Jadon Sancho whose penalty was also saved, but their teammates and manager Gareth Southgate hugged the young players.
The missed penalties followed another by Marcus Rashford and a save by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, which had kept the Three Lions in the game.
Deflated looking England fans slumped in their chairs at Wembley while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their eldest son, George, seven, looked upset in the stands.
Prince William, who is president of the FA, tweeted: “Heartbreaking. Congratulations Azzurri on a great victory.
“England, you’ve all come so far, but sadly this time it wasn’t our day. You can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves – I know there’s more to come.”
Southgate said he took responsibility for England’s loss as he chose who to take the penalties.
“Our players have done themselves proud, they’re exceptional,” he said.
The Three Lions started the final off with much hope as they managed to score the fastest ever Euros final goal after Luke Shaw fired home off the back of a Kieran Trippier cross just before the second minute, beating Spain’s sixth minute goal against the USSR in 1964.
Italy missed a free kick in the seventh minute and both Federico Chiesa and Leonardo Bonucci missed chances on goal in the first half.
The second half appeared tougher for England, with Italy having more chances on goal, with a missed free kick in the 49th minute and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford blocking two attempts.
After England’s first goal it took until the 63rd minute for another attempt, a header by John Stones that went high over Italy’s bar.
It was not until the 66th minute that Italy managed to score after a rebound from a Pickford save was slotted in by Bonucci.
After that, Italy’s confidence seemed to grow with Bonucci sending a ball over the England defence to Domenico Berardi whose volley just missed the top bar as Pickford raced off his line.
A fan brought play to a brief halt in the 87th minute after running on to the field, taking four stewards to remove him.
As full-time approached, a yellow card was awarded to Giorgio Chiellini as he hauled Saka to the ground by his shirt, preventing him from sparking a last-minute England attack.
Nervous fans were left at the edge of their seats for another 30 minutes during extra time.
The game saw more bold play from both sides, with attempts on both goals in an attempt to avoid another penalty shootout.
The introduction of Jack Grealish and Saka appeared to boost England’s hopes in the second half of extra time, but a yellow card for Italy after Jorginho’s boot smashed into Grealish’s thigh dented their rhythm.
As it became clear a penalty shootout was imminent, Rashford was brought on with Jadon Sancho for England – but both failed to make a last-minute impact.
Thousands of fans travelled to Wembley on Sunday morning and in the moments before kick-off, up to 100 people stormed security barriers and ran into the ground before security quickly stopped them.