Declan Rice heartbroken but full of pride after England's Euro 2020 journey
- Credit: PA
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice was left heartbroken but still beaming with pride after England suffered defeat to Italy in a penalty shoot-out in the Euro 2020 final.
England were defeated by Italy 3-2 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.
But Italy improved after half-time and levelled through Leonardo Bonucci’s close-range finish midway through the second half, before Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were denied in the shoot-out.
“It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling," said Rice. "I’m of course absolutely devastated with the result and need some time now to process the massive disappointment we are all feeling.
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"To get so close is heart breaking, and I know all of us around the country are hurting.
“However, the biggest emotion I am feeling is pride. I am so proud to be a part of this squad.
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“The last five weeks I’ve had the best time of my entire life and the journey we have all been on together as players, management, staff, fans and as a nation has been special.
“It’s been a true honour to represent our country at a major tournament and together we’ve all created memories that will last a lifetime.”
The 22-year-old was keen to make it known they will bounce back and be stronger as a group going forward.
He added: “We win together and lose together, and although it’s painful today this is just the start for this squad and we will be back better, stronger and ready to go again.
“Thank you so much to everyone around the country for the incredible support for all of us during the whole tournament.
"Seeing everyone come together as we have over the last month has been amazing and I know there are great days ahead.
"We are all hungry for success and the future is bright for this group.”
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 their history.