England faced absolute heartbreak on the weekend after losing a nail biting penalty shootout to Italy 3-2.

Whilst an early goal from Luke Shaw gave many hope of football actually coming home, a late goal from Italy evidentially lead to a dreaded penalty shootout.

But could England have actually won the European Final?

 

It is no secret that England have had a dark history with penalty shootouts.

Throughout England's international tournament history the team have been apart of ten penalty shootout's and won only three of these.

However whilst some may blame history others are placing the blame on Gary Southgate and his decision behind the selected penalty takers.

With both Rashford and Sancho having an impeccable record with penalties for England both seemed like perfect choices on paper.

Before the final Rashford had not missed a penalty for his country scoring four penalties throughout his career. Sancho held a similar record having scored four and missing just one.

However none of these penalties were taken after being subbed on in the 120th minute of play with many insisting the role nerves and a lack of game time had on the two players ability to score.

 

Yet perhaps the biggest criticism lies in Southgate's decision to have 19-year-old Bukayo Saka take the final penalty.

Before the final the young Arsenal winger had never taken a penalty at senior level football allowing many to question why Southgate would ever put him in such a position.

So what could Southgate have done differently?

Whilst former Chelsea list manager says Sterling "is not a penalty taker at heart", many believe the forwards current form seen throughout the tournament would have made him a perfect fit.

Grealish has also been criticised for not being picked due to his experience in comparison to 21-year-old Rashford and Sancho and 19-year-old Saka.

Even the decision for Harry Kane has been questioned as many believe the "safest option for a penalty in the world" should not have gone first and instead should have taken a more risky position such as fifth.

Southgate has since come out and defended the decision behind his penalty takers.

“I decided on the penalty takers based on what we had done in training and nobody is on their own," Southgate told the BBC.

“In terms of the penalties, that is my call and totally rests with me.”