Southgate: he did it his way (“to dare is to do”).

Southgate: he did it his way (“to dare is to do”).

By Peter J Arnold

After the game last night (Sunday), the Frank Sinatra song came into my head. I can imagine Southgate humming it.

And now the end is here

And so I face that final curtain

My friend I’ll make it clear

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full

I travelled each and every highway

And more, much more

I did it, I did it my way

And he certainly did it his own way. Our second most significant football moment ends in tears, but the team tried its best, and whatever way we look at it, we now must prepare ourselves for the next big competition (the World Cup). If Southgate can keep the same players with him, they will have gained so much experience by then, especially the younger ones.

I thought we started off brilliantly, but we had wilted and let the Italians back in it by the second half. As for the penalty shoot out, they are always as good as a toss of a coin.

I read that somebody called England “Spursy,” however, I see us as a work in progress, while England were a bit more rounded and, of course, had better quality than us, but still a work in progress.

I felt sorry for Harry as he again walks away with nothing. So many finals he has been to and ended up with sod all. Nevertheless, I hope that will change with Tottenham if he stays, and he should. With the current new Coach and Director of Football, I finally feel something special coming to us.

So, our bid to end our 55-year wait for a major trophy ended in agony of a penalty shootout as Italy claimed the Euro 2020 crown at Wembley on our own turf. Which makes it worse.

It was a nigh of tension and ending in heartbreak in an ecstatic atmosphere; we looked on course when Luke Shaw gave us the perfect start after two minutes. As that goal went in, I thought we had finally arrived after years of misery and humiliation. Italy were unbeaten in 33 matches before this final, but we all thought they were coming to the end of their long unbeaten run. Then slowly, they edged their way back into the game and finally scored in the  67th minute when Leonardo Bonucci pounced after Jordan Pickford turned Marco Verratti’s header onto the post.

With 90 minutes finally up a tense period of extra time for us all; those watching at home, around the world and especially in the stadium. Then the dreaded penalties. And before you could say “WTF”, it was all over, and it was not us lifting this trophy.

We missed three of our five penalties, Marcus Rashford hitting a post, and Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Jadon Sancho before the Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka also fluffed his lines and saw the Italy goalkeeper save his spot-kick. Head dropped as the Italian crowd raised their voices.

On the positive side, our Harry Kane and United’s Harry Maguire scored for us. At the same time, Pickford kept hopes alive with saves from Andrea Belotti, and Jorginho, Domenico Berardi, Bonucci, and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy.

Like Tottenham’s, England’s years of hurt shall carry on, but under Levy, Nuno Espírito Santo, Fabio Paratici and Southgate, the future does look bright for all concerned.

I know some will say that I am too optimistic, but what else is left if we do not look on the brighter side of life? I am still young, but I do hope that I will see the Glory days back at our ground in my lifetime, those Glory days that our parents talked about, and the same goes for England and the memories of 1966.

For those that talk about the magical past, you have had your days of Glory; now it is for the younger generation to raise their heads above the parapet. Our magnificent stadium is the start, along with Southgate’s vision, the future is looking every bit rosier, as we expect it should.

As the Monty Python song says,

Some things in life are bad

They can really make you mad

Other things just make you swear and curse

When you’re chewing on life’s gristle

Don’t grumble, give a whistle

And this’ll help things turn out for the best

And

Always look on the bright side of life

Remember our motto Audere est Facere (“to dare is to do”).

By Peter J Arnold

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