Declan Rice does England proud as they suffer Euro 2020 final heartbreak

England's Declan Rice (right) battles with Italy's Giovanni Di Lorenzo (centre) and Federico Chiesa

England's Declan Rice (right) battles with Italy's Giovanni Di Lorenzo (centre) and Federico Chiesa during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021. - Credit: PA

West Ham United’s Declan Rice did his country proud as England finished runners-up at the 2020 UEFA European Championship.

The Hammers’ central midfielder started as England were defeated by Italy on penalties following a thrilling, dramatic and heart-stopping 1-1 draw after extra-time at Wembley Stadium.

The Three Lions took the lead through Luke Shaw’s superbly taken goal within two minutes as England produced a superb first-half performance.

Italy improved after half-time and levelled through Leonardo Bonucci’s close-range finish midway through the second half.

Rice produced a superb performance, winning a team-high six tackles and completing a team-high four dribbles in a fine display in the 73 minutes he was on the pitch before being replaced by Jordan Henderson.

England's Declan Rice walks off dejected as he is substituted during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wem

England's Declan Rice walks off dejected as he is substituted during the UEFA Euro 2020 Final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 11, 2021. - Credit: PA

The two sides played out a cagey 90 minutes, before trading blows during an extra 30-minute period that was short of clear-cut opportunities at both ends.

And the final, which was played in front of a passionate crowd at the Home of Football, was eventually settled by a shootout.

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Despite Jordan Pickford's heroics in saving from Claudio Belotti and Jorginho, Marcus Rashford hit a post before Gianluigi Donarumma saved spot-kicks by Jayden Sancho and Bukayo Saka as Italy secured their second European title, winning the shootout 3-2.

Rice can hold his head high, having started all seven of England's matches as Gareth Southgate's squad reached the European Championship final for the first time in the Three Lions' history.

It was also the final major tournament final since the World Cup win in 1966.

Rice personally shone throughout the tournament and has proved his worth on the international stage.

Pundit and former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was full of praise for both Rice and his midfield partner Kalvin Phillips.

“Rice is 22 years of age. He is going to get better. Of course, he is. He has got to improve in terms of what he does in possession particularly," he said.

“Phillips, two seasons ago, he was playing in the Championship. These lads will get better. He is 25.”

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