The Euros are officially in the books now and it’s safe to say it was one of the best international tournaments in recent memory. From sensational goals to surprise results and beyond, there was a whole lot to digest across a really impressive month of football.
A lot of the clear favourites fell off fairly early on but by the time the final rolled around, there were two clear contenders – Italy and England.
The pair met in the final after going through a whole lot in their six games prior, setting up an incredible showdown between two European giants with a whole lot to gain.
Luke Shaw managed to open the scoring within the first few minutes but as the game went on, the Azzurri were quite clearly growing into things and looked threatening whenever they managed to break into the final third.
They got the equaliser in the second half and after that, it was anyone’s guess as to what would happen, even though Italy were probably the better of the two sides.
It went down to a penalty shootout and Italy were the ones who held their nerve, although really, Donnarumma and Pickford were the big stars with a series of saves being made between them.
A lot of England fans were upset with Gareth Southgate’s approach to the game and the actual shootout, but at the end of the day, he took us to a place we’d never been before by reaching the Euros final.
We all know going one step further was the big aim but at the very least, progress has been made. Southgate is focusing on the future with this squad looking set to continue their improvement in anticipation of next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Some will see them as favourites, others will feel as if their big chance has been and gone, but you only need to take a look at what France have done over the last five years. They were beaten on their own home turf by Portugal in the final of Euro 2016, and then in the World Cup, all of the pieces finally fell into place for them to rise up and win the big one.
England are a very impressive side but they aren’t exactly the same as Les Bleus, with the manager needing to show a bit more attacking intent. If he can get over that hurdle then it’s anyone’s guess as to what will come next.
Congratulations to Italy who probably deserved to win the tournament based on their overall style of play and track record throughout the Euros, but England will almost certainly come again.
Football didn’t quite come home but an entire generation is now as motivated as they have been in a long time to get behind the Three Lions in the years to come.
So with the new Premier League season coming up in just a few short weeks, we’re excited to see where English football is going to go from here.