Pictures: Agony at Norwich fan park as England lose on penalties - again
- Credit: Danielle Booden
It was the most painful end for England after losing the Euro 2020 final in the cruellest fashion, on penalties.
At The Arena, in Sprowston, a sold-out crowd gathered to watch Gareth Southgate’s men, in hopes of winning their first major honour since 1966.
Pre-game, The Arena was like a party, with songs and chants being sung.
It also started so well for the Three Lions as the nerves of kick-off brought the park to the quietest it had been all evening, which was completely juxtaposed when, inside two minutes, Luke Shaw brought rapture with the first goal of the game.
Everyone jumped onto their feet to celebrate and another rendition of Three Lions electrified The Arena.
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Italy dominated the ball, but every tackle, block and offside was cheered as if it was a goal. The tension was broken with chants and cheers.
Half time brought cheers of delight and people were allowed to stand for one song, Sweet Caroline. People belted the sing-a-long classic out with delight as England were 45 minutes away.
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The tension raised throughout the second half, as Italy once again dominated the ball.
When Bonucci scored it brought silence to The Arena for the first time this evening. But it was broken with a defiant chant of England til I Die.
The full-time whistle was met with groans of anguish as they prepared to watch another thirty minutes.
The thirty minutes were played out with few chances, but it was penalties that once again thwarted England.
Fans at The Arena were rightly heartbroken at the end of the game, one of those was Millie Hebron from Norwich, who said: “I’m heartbroken. I am so proud of them but I am just so upset that some players had to be the ones that missed.”
George Edwards from Norwich added: “Heartbroken. Still so proud of the boys. If you have been told you had reached your first final in 55-years you would have been delighted. We have been a great team all tournament, and we will be back for the World Cup.”
Ben Fulcher, from Norwich, added: “I’m so disappointed, but it has been a hell of a ride. We have played so well all tournament, and penalties are just a lottery at the end of it. I think we will be back for the World Cup.”
Some others had mixed emotions as the crowd left the venue. Lewis Baker, from Norwich, said: “It is so hard to decide how I feel. I’m not sure whether I feel proud or just heartbroken. I believe we will be back for the World Cup.”
Danny Banthorpe, part of Ideal Events and founder and promoter of Pop Up Pictures, was full of praise for the fans.
“All the team were fantastic, from security to the bar staff, we were delighted with how it went. We will be back for Qatar next year,” he said.
“The fans were so well behaved, if it wasn’t for Covid, and the guidelines we had to follow, there would have been no issue at all.
“Just fantastic from everyone who came along for one of the games, from staff to fans, and we cannot wait for the next one.”