Well, there goes England’s 100% record in major finals on home turf then.
The Euro 2020 adventure is over – it didn’t come home as it seems to prefer Rome. Southgate’s boys have grown up into fully-fledged very-nearly boys against Italy but it clearly wasn’t meant to be.
You can score too early in football and, unfortunately, Luke Shaw appeared to – England dropping deeper and deeper as the game progressed to the point where social distancing with the fans in the stands behind their goal was becoming an issue.
The magic touch left Southgate when he needed it most – Jordan Henderson wasn’t exactly a like for like substitution for the excellent Declan Rice on the night, the occasion looked bigger than Saka when he came on and whilst there was a lot of logic and sense in bringing on Rashford and Sancho just before the final whistle, it didn’t really work out that well.
Once the disappointment and questions that need to be asked – why drop off so much and where were Pickford and Grealish when the penalties were being dished out? – fade away, remember the good times of this tournament.
Go all the way back to last Wednesday at Wembley, for example, and how that felt. England, for so long accepting of players from foreign climes coming into their game and diving around, finally using the dark arts themselves to gain an advantage.
Winning a penalty in that way is more difficult than ever given that you have to firstly convince the referee but also buy it in a way that the VAR cannot overturn. And to think Pep hardly picked you for the title run-in, Raheem – what does he know?
And then there was the laser – I think we can all agree that as the final went to penalties then Wembley should have been lit up like an Ibiza closing party. Did it stop Schmeichel saving the penalty? No! Should he have held on to such a weak effort from Kane? Yes!
Jose Mourinho didn’t like Southgate subbing Grealish off having only brought him on 35 minutes earlier. Jose, I think you are telling porky pies there, my friend. One – since when did you care about a player’s feelings? Two – this was Gareth bringing off an attacking player to throw on a defender to close out a match. You’re telling me this didn’t make you feel all tingly inside?
Now all this Euros stuff is put to bed we can get on with the small matter of enjoying the utterly crazy transfer rumours that the tabloids make up to give them something to do.
England hero Sterling is open to offers to leave Man City – but you can bet your bottom dollar he won’t be looking to take a step down and why should he? Peppy G has other ideas though and wants to lock Sterling down to another long-term deal.
Kalvin Phillips is being lazily linked to random clubs but the Yorkshire Pirlo has no desire to leave Leeds and cannot wait for Bielsa to beast him in preseason training.
Aston Villa still believe Arsenal might be stupid enough to sell them Emile Smith-Rowe. You can understand why they might think that, so Villa will continue to increase their bids until stupidity takes over.
Arsenal might be distracted by the fact they’ve made an actual half-decent signing in Nuno Tavares, a young Portuguese left-back. Yes, that does mean Arsenal’s last two intelligent signings have been left-backs.
The Gunners are still chasing not-seen-at-the-Euros Ben White and are waving £50m under the noses of Brighton. However, that offer was not accepted last time and reports that it’s been accepted this time are wider of the mark than Dani Olmo’s penalty.
Houssem Aouar is still being linked to Arsenal, just like he has been for the last five windows and Hector Bellerin would really like to move to Inter, just like has been rumoured for weeks now.
Southampton would like to take Brandon Williams on loan from Manchester United and are prepared to pay his wages – if they have any left having signed Theo Walcott permanently following his release from Everton where he was earning £150k a week for being absolutely toilet.
Barcelona are hawking many players around the Premier League sides as they need to cut their wage bill urgently – otherwise, they cannot reregister a certain Mr Messi if he does agree a new deal. Therefore, Antoine Griezmann’s CV is on the desks of City and Chelsea. If Arsenal and United get through the pile they’ll see Samuel Umtiti’s resume. Miralem Pjanic is being offered to Tottenham and they can frankly pay what they like. Leeds took the bait on Junior Firpo and signed him for around £10m – though you’d imagine Barca need to shift 15 Firpos to free up enough wage budget to sort Messi out.
Everton have been contacted as well as someone suggested Rafa would like a bit of Clement Lenglet as a welcoming present just as long as he can ensure Moise Kean doesn’t return.
Liverpool are still keen on Renato Sanches who seems to be a bit better than he was for Swansea and are also keen on Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski. You can add Atleti’s Saul Niguez and Wolves’ Adama Traore to Klopp’s wanted list too.
Liverpool’s list isn’t done there – King Kloppo would also like Bayern’s Kingsley Coman and Dutchman Donyell Malan to freshen up his squad.
Klopp does not want a reunion with Philippe Coutinho whereas Brendan Rodgers would – yes, another Barca player to get off the wage bill.
Tottenham need to do bits and bits looks like Wolfsburg’s French defender Maxime Lacroix and Danish sensation Mikkel Damsgaard – though Leeds and Leicester are also sniffing around him. Nuno can expect to have Japanese defender Tommy Yasu in his squad when they get going, though. Tomiyasu is 22 and, apparently, pretty good. Which helps.
It wouldn’t be rumours with Paul Pogba being linked with a move away from United – today, it’s PSG’s turn to pretend they might be interested.
Gabby Jesus’ time at City must be coming to an end – I mean, imagine being a striker there and only scoring nine goals last season. Juventus would like to have him and defender Danilo has spent the Copa America talking up life in Turin.
Having signed a new deal, Olivier Giroud is to be sold to AC Milan for £1.4m. Quite how he and Zlatan will get on remains to be seen.
Finally, Arsenal have been lined up for the next Amazon “All or Nothing” documentary series – I’d get out now, Mikel. Whilst you still can.