Whenever there's a contest involving different countries vying for the top spot of a respective sport, people get jazzed. Take the World Cup for example. Even if you know next to nothing about soccer, lots of people tune in to the biggest events of the year.
The second most-watched football event is the Euro Cup, a contest in which England did very well. So why did the team take off its medals following their loss to Italy in the finals?
Why did England take off their medals?
The Euro Cup final was a close one between the two nations. In the end, the Italian club secured its sixth major trophy along with its second ever European title. England enjoyed early momentum when Luke Shaw managed to secure a goal a mere 120 seconds into the game. In the second half, however Leonardo Bonucci nailed a goal to tie things.
Italy, a notoriously strong defensive team, didn't give up any other goals the rest of the game and neither did England, which resulted in a penalty shots showdown.
Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford missed their goal attempts and Italy then took home the Euro Cup trophy.
Following the effort, England received "Guard of Honor" second-place medals. Almost immediately, several players from the English squad took the medals off. Inews reports, "The players did not want to carry a reminder of their defeat, despite putting in a strong performance against the four-time world champions."
There were several spectators who believed that the protest was in poor taste and was a clear example of poor sportsmanship. Many applauded the way the English team played. The final result, although not ideal, simply came down to a series of penalty shots. Both clubs ultimately put in very strong efforts.
Gareth Southgate took full responsibility for the penalty shot loss after the game.
The beloved English coach said that the onus of the misses ultimately rests on his shoulders, as he chose the players who would take the shots for their team.
He said, "It is down to me. I decided on the penalty takers based on what they have done in training. Nobody is on their own. We have won together as a team and it is on all of us together to not be able to win this game. In terms of penalties, it is my call and it totally rests with me."
England's team captain, Harry Kane, said after their loss, "The boys couldn't have given more. Penalties are the worst thing in the world when you lose them. It’s been a fantastic tournament. We should be proud and hold our heads up high, but it’s going to hurt now. It’s going to hurt for a while, but we’re on the right track and we’re building. Hopefully, we can progress next year."
The World Cup 2022 is taking place next year in Qatar on November 21, 2022, at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. Usually, the World Cup takes place during the summer. However, it was moved to the winter months because staying outdoors in Qatar during the summer is highly unpleasant.