An analysis of penalty data shows it should be no surprise England was felled by Italy in the crucial Euro 2020 final shootout
- Italy's penalty takers during the Euro 2020 final were far more experienced than their England counterparts.
- Two of England's penalty takers had never taken one before and only Harry Kane had taken more than 15.
- By comparison, three of Italy's shootout stars had more than 30 career penalties under their belts.
Italy's win in Sunday's Euro 2020 final penalty shootout should have come as no surprise considering the vast difference of penalty-taking experience between it and England.
The Azzurri became European Champions for the second time when it defeated England via spot kicks following a 1-1 draw at Wembley in the Euro 2020 final.
An Insider analysis of the data behind each penalty taker shows that the Italy players had almost double the experience of England's.
Italian penalty-takers Domenico Berardi, Andrea Belotti, Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Bernardeschi and Jorginho had collectively taken 117 penalties for club and country.
Meanwhile, the five England players had taken a combined 67 spot kicks and crucially, two of the kickers England manager Gareth Southgate chose had never taken a penalty in a senior game before.
Three of Italy's five takers having taken more than 30 penalties in their senior careers.
Bn contrast, only England captain Harry Kane has taken more than 15 during his senior career.
The table below shows the previous penalty experience of all Sunday's spot kick takers:
|Penalty taker||Penalties taken||Penalties scored||Penalties missed|
|Domenico Berardi (Italy)||40||33||7|
|Andrea Belotti (Italy)||35||27||8|
|Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)||1||1||0|
|Federico Bernardeschi (Italy)||8||7||1|
|Harry Kane (England)||50||42||8|
|Harry Maguire (England)||0||0||0|
|Marcus Rashford (England)||14||12||2|
|Jadon Sancho (England)||3||3||0|
|Bukayo Saka (England)||0||0||0|
Two England players, Manchester United's Harry Maguire and Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka, had never taken a senior penalty before.
While Maguire showed no signs of his inexperience, firing his effort into the top right corner, Saka's shot was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to win the tournament for Italy.
The decision to trust two inexperienced players, especially giving the 19-year-old Saka the fifth and crucial kick, was made more puzzling considering both Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish, who were on the pitch at the time and available for selection, have taken penalties before.
Sterling's record of three misses from five attempts may have dissuaded Southgate, but Aston Villa's Grealish scored the only previous penalty he took in his career, taken during a Championship playoff final shootout in 2019.
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane criticized the decision.
"If you're Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid [Saka] go up for a penalty ahead of you, you can't.
"You cannot let a shy 19-year-old go up in front of you. They have a lot more experience, Sterling has won trophies, they had to get in front of the young kid and stand up." Keane told ITV
Grealish later tweeted refuting the claim, saying he had volunteered to take a penalty, but Southgate chose to use Saka instead.
-Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) July 12, 2021
Southgate also opted to bring Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on with seconds left in the game to take a penalty but both players were unsuccessful with United's Rashford hitting the post, and Sancho having his saved by Donnarumma.
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