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Tears as England fail to land the glittering prize

Dreams of a first major trophy in 55 years left in tatters as three players miss from penalty spot in shootout

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Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Getty Images

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

PA

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

PA

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

PA

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Oh no: England fans are dejected after England lose the game on penalties last night. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Penalties dashed England’s hopes of winning their first major tournament since the 1966 World Cup last night, after a night of high drama at Wembley ended in bitter disappointment for Gareth Southgate’s men.

Italy ended the Three Lions’ bid for Euros glory with a 3-2 victory on penalties in London.

England’s early lead, with Luke Shaw putting them 1-0 up just two minutes into the first half, was not enough to clinch victory, leaving the home fans devastated.

Roars reverberated around Wembley after the early goal, with Prince George among the ecstatic fans cheering the Three Lions.

The Duchess of Cambridge and George could be seen hugging after the early opener, as dad William cheered.

Kate and William, who is president of the Football Association, clapped after the lightning-fast goal, while George beamed with delight.

The Italians fired back midway through the second half with a goal, drawing the sides level through a goalmouth scramble score from Bonucci, but the 1-1 scoreline took the game to extra time.

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Former England player David Beckham and the royal couple were all seen looking tense as Wembley’s 60,000-strong crowd, and those watching across the nation, then faced a nail-biting penalty shootout.

But it was not to be.

Former first minister Arlene Foster was quick to commiserate with the defeated England side.

“At least tomorrow is the 12th!! Hard luck England,” she said.

The Duke of Cambridge described England’s Euro 2020 defeat as “heartbreaking”, telling the team “you can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves”.

In Northern Ireland yesterday, both England and Italy supporters had come out strongly for their favourite teams.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland had thrown its weight behind England, tweeting: “Good luck to the England National team in the European Championship final”.

But Morelli’s, the popular north coast ice cream parlour and the choice of many Orangemen on a hot Twelfth, posted an image of Italian team captain Chiellini chilling out before the match with a two-toned whippy ice-cream cornets.

Justice Minister Naomi Long MLA said she had “some pasta salad and a nice pinot grigio for tea”, before sitting down to watch the final.

“The food might have been Italian, but I’m supporting England tonight,” she tweeted. “With the commentary on mute obviously.”

BBC Northern Ireland correspondent Emma Vardy, who comes from the south of England, had posted a photo of herself with her partner, local man Aaron Adams.

He was backing Italy to win the tournament.

“He couldn’t find an Italy top so Sampdoria had to do,” the broadcaster commented.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was also backing the men in blue: “The house is coming down with lasagne and Birra Moretti,” he said on social media.

As the game moved into extra time with the score still 1-1, and a nerve-wracking shoot-out loomed, BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan could hardly contain himself.

“I cannot cope with penalties. I will wet myself,” the BBC star said on social media.

Commentator Malachi O’Doherty was somewhat less enthralled: “I don’t care who wins this but I wish someone would. #footballisboring” he tweeted.

But as extra time saw the score still stuck at 1-1, the teams - and fans - had to steel themselves for a shootout.

“Oh no. Penalties,” said Nolan.

Weatherman Barra Best simply quoted Line of Duty’s Ted Hastings: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey! Penalties.”

Belfast-born peer Baroness Kate Hoey added: “Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Not penalties” accompanied by a row of crying face emojis.

And it was not to be England’s night, missing three of their five penalties.

Jordan Pickford denied Andrea Belotti and Jorginho, but Marcus Rashford hit the post before fellow substitutes Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were denied as Italy won the shoot-out 3-2.

It was a crushing end to a summer that will live long in the memory after Southgate’s side went agonisingly close to following in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 World Cup heroes by triumphing in a major tournament on home soil.

Political commentator Jon Tonge joked: “Every Irish nationalist having their greatest Eleventh Night ever.”

Broadcaster Frank Mitchell was more sympathetic. “Tough on those kids during the penalities. Well done Italy but so hard on England to lose like that,” he said.

The game, which was watched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie, began after an RAF flypast and performance by the Coldstream Guards band as part of a tournament closing ceremony.

The mood of England fans filing out of Trafalgar Square changed following their team’s defeat.

Supporters swore in the street, smashing bottles and overturning bins.

Some fans could be seen swearing and getting aggressive with each other.

The Metropolitan Police said there had been 45 arrests made after the game.



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