They think it’s all over, it is now. 

Italy 1 England 1 [Italy win AET and penalties]

Another chapter in England’s footballing woe closes and this time England have no-one to blame but themselves. England made an excellent start and in the first fifteen minutes were running circles around Italy. Like all good teams Italy worked out the problems and plugged the gap and over the game became more and more dominant, whilst England sat back.

This was the pattern for the rest of the game. Despite the wealth of talent on the bench, Southgate continued his policy of forgetting that he was the manager instead of a ball boy in a suit. When he did realise that this wasn’t 1966 and you can make subs, it didn’t change the game. In fact his whole game plan seemed to be based on assuming it would go to penalties.

The fact that he brought Sancho and Rashford on with thirty seconds of the second half of extra time and expected them to step up to take penalties is bizarre. Equally so, is the pressure put on Saka – who has never taken a penalty in senior football.

Anyway, I am sure we will see Southgate get knighted but this was an abject failure of leadership – alongside the complete lack of leadership on the pitch outside of Pickford in goal. On the other hand, Italy are worthy winners navigating a much more difficult route to the final. Felicitazioni!

In our competition, two people picked the 2-2 draw AET; Andrew Walton and John Hughes, with three other picking other flavours of draws.

Pool Results

In the final analysis there is something to cheer about for Pete Lee, with a well earned victory. Although it remained very close till the end:

  1. Pete Lee – 59.00
  2. Gavin Edwards – 57.5
  3. Pete Jones – 57.7
  4. Dean Goodway – 57.0

Link to the pool: