UEFA report states England lost the Euro 2020 final after shifting to ‘long ball approach’

England lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy after resorting to a longer ball approach in the second-half resulting in a dramatic drop in possession, according to a UEFA technical report. 

The report, written by a team of technical experts which included the likes of West Ham manager David Moyes, gave a detailed analysis of the whole tournament, particularly the final. 

It noted that the statistics in the second-half showed the ‘change of tide’ in the match with England’s ball possession dropping to 35 per cent – their lowest of the tournament – and their passing accuracy decreasing with one in four going astray. 


England lost the Euro 2020 final to Italy after resorting to a longer ball approach, says a report 

The UEFA document describes Jorginho (L) as the ‘absolute leader’ from the second-half


In addition, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made 26 long clearances, as England ‘retreated into an ever-deeper defensive block’ and Italy made twice as many passes as England. 

England took a second-minute lead via Luke Shaw’s volley in the final at Wembley on July 11, before Leonardo Bonucci equalised in the second-half – the Italians went on to win the tournament on penalties. 

The report also noted that the ‘aerial bombardment’ by England did little to perturb Italy centre backs Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci, who they described as ‘warriors.’ 

Austrian manager Will Ruttensteiner, who is currently head coach of Israel, said: ‘At the beginning, Mount or Sterling were pressing up to prevent Italy’s centre-backs from playing to their playmaker Jorginho. 

The ‘aerial bombardment’ did little to perturb Italy centre backs Giorgio Chiellini (pictured winning a header against Harry Kane) and Leonardo Bonucci

The report described Italy’s centre back duo Bonucci (L) and Chiellini (R) as ‘warriors’ 

‘But Mancini obviously made a good team talk at half-time  because the game changed totally. Their positional play was much better and Jorginho was able to get on to the ball and become the absolute leader on the pitch.’ 

Jorginho made 98 passes from his controlling position in midfield, more than the combined total of England’s midfield.  

Aitor Karanka, a UEFA technical observer who has managed Birmingham City and Middlesbrough, also noted: ‘The pressure seemed to change direction. 

‘When you are winning a game, you can easily become scared to lose it, especially when you have to manage the pressure of playing in front of your own crowd as a young team against such experienced opponents.

England lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties after their approach changed after half-time 

‘Little by little, Italy worked it round so they could play the game as they wanted to play it.’ 

Moyes was full of praise for England’s start, stating: ‘We thought how well Gareth had prepared the game and found a way of creating problems for Italy.

‘At that point, it looked as though England had caught them out.’