Sleep didn’t come easy last night to those living in England, including me. After a heart-pounding, pressure-rising penalty shootout in the UEFA EURO 2020 final, England lost to Italy 3-2 on penalties. Seeing Italy’s Donnarumma save Saka’s shot broke my heart. Knowing it was all over hurt. My heart hurt more for the young England players, knowing what abuse they would face online for missing the penalties and for the colour of their skin.
Despite the disappointment of England losing the final, I really enjoyed following along with the Euros. After waiting a year for football (and the coverage that comes with it), it was refreshing to be able to have multi-country matches to watch almost every day. It was awesome being able to watch England and Scotland play against each other, a match that gripped the entire UK. Even having Wales in the tournament seemed to bring everyone together to cheer on their teams.
I loved listening to conversations from people either getting excited or not understanding the hype around the tournament. I loved getting to sit with my husband, eating the snacks on the coffee table, and holding our breath every time a shot lined up. It may sound silly to say, but the Euros brought us closer together.
Now here comes the debate: should there have been fans in the stadiums when a pandemic is happening? At the beginning, it did seem like there were limited fans and they were pretty spread out throughout the stadiums. But seeing how many people were packed into that final (plus the many who pushed their way past security), I do not think they should’ve allowed that many to attend. I’m just waiting now for the constant stream of news saying cases have gone up.
I’m glad to have been a part of watching some England National Team history. Though the outcome was disappointing for England fans, I will give Italy some credit. They definitely outplayed England in the second half of regular time. I was starting to get tired of sloppy plays and Italy was stepping up.
With the Euros now finished, it’s time to focus on the Olympics – my favourite event next to the World Cup.