England’s quest to bring football home fell at the agonising final hurdle of a penalty shootout in the final of Euro 2020, as 1,000 people watched the drama unfold at Lincoln Castle on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate’s men were beaten by the cruel mistress of penalty kicks after drawing 1-1 with Italy at Wembley, in England’s first major final since 1966.
An early goal from Luke Shaw within the first two minutes sent the whole nation into dreamland, particularly for those watching at Lincoln Castle’s fan zone, with a flypast of the Red Arrows returning home to celebrate.
An equaliser from Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci took the game to a shootout, where despite the heroics of Jordan Pickford, who saved two Italy penalties, England were beaten.
Substitues Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties to hand Italy victory, but the overwhelming feeling was one of pride and accomplishment for the young Three Lions squad.
Before the match, Lincoln locals joined in with a brilliant rendition of God Save The Queen, and were also greeted by the Red Arrows on their way back from Wembley, who flew over the castle shortly after Luke Shaw’s goal.
The atmosphere inside Lincoln Castle was electric, as England fans cheered every pass, tackle and shot for the full 120 minutes of regular and extra time.
Regular chants of “Football’s Coming Home” and “Southgate You’re The One” could be heard ringing through the castle walls, and not even a final defeat should dampen that spirit.
For those naturally disappointed by the result, here’s something worth remembering. England have never been to the final of the European Championships, with this group of players and this manager, that dream became a reality.
The memories they have created for fans across the country this summer will never be forgotten, whether it was the famous 2-0 victory over Germany in the last 16, or that nail biting semi-final with Denmark.
One thing is for certain, this competition served as a reminder of the power that this nation has when everyone is united and brought together, that is perhaps the thing that this England side should be most proud of.