Let's face it, it was a poor game. When I saw that Sako was going to be dropped for a defender (Trippier) I suspected that Southgate was going to employ "Italian tactics" against the Italians. With three centre-halves, two wing backs and two deep midfielders "screening" the backline, England were about as negative as they could be.
I had recorded the Tour de France and watched it instead of the build-up, as there is only so much of Lineker and Shearer that any non-Englishman can bear, and I missed the first minutes of the match. I switched over to the BBC just as Shaw was putting England in front. I thought that would spur the Italians on to attacking England, but I was wrong. The Italians were poor.
For the whole of the first half the Italians looked bereft of ideas and confidence, but as any seasoned football watcher will tell you, England needed to capitalise and get the second before half-time. They didn't. In fact, England were just as poor as Italy. I lost count of the long balls that went into touch or directly to Donnarumma. My guess was that if Italy get to the break at 0-1 then they would "win" the second half and the game would go to extra time.
And that's what happened. Southgate stayed cagey and only introduced Sako after 70 mins. It did improve England and they looked the most likely at the end of the 90. Grealish was only introduced in extra time and failed to produce anything special and the inevitable penalties ensued. Southgate's decision to put on Rashford and Sancho for the penalty shootout backfired spectacularly as both missed their spot kicks and Italy held their nerve to lift the trophy.
On balance, Italy deserved the trophy as they were the best side in the tournament. It was great to see the smile on Chiellini's face lifting the cup, the old stager deserved it. England will rue the missed chance though. They may never get a better one.
This tournament will not be remembered for its quality of football. There were no stand out teams displaying real class. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal fielded their weakest teams in recent memory. France, despite the hype, failed to produce like the French sides of Platini and Zizou before them. If ever there was a chance for England to win a trophy, you would imagine this was it.
Southgate got England to their first final in 55 years, better than Sven, El Tel and the rest, yet for me he was the reason they didn't lift the trophy. That may seem harsh, but England were too defensive and he didn't get the best out of his creative players. So, a massive missed opportunity for England, but at least we will be spared the gloating media!