Monday briefing: penalties, pain … and pride | – The Guardian

Top story: ‘Totally my responsibility,’ says Southgate

Morning everyone. Here are the top stories on this most miserable of Monday mornings.

English football fans have been plunged into despair after their dreams of a first major trophy for 55 years were dashed by a cruel penalty shootout defeat by Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley last night. Prince William and Boris Johnson led the commiserations for the “heartbreaking” loss which saw the young stars Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and, finally, Bukayo Saka all miss from the spot after the match was deadlocked at 1-1 following 120 minutes of tension-filled football. Questioned about the wisdom of handing the job to the former pair – who had only just come on as substitutes – and the latter, who is only 19, England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, said it was “totally my responsibility”. The Football Association issued a statement condemning racist abuse on social media directed at some of the players in the wake of the loss. The Metropolitan police have also opened an investigation into the abuse. Earlier, there were reports of ticketless fans storming the turnstiles at Wembley. Despite the final result, England will garner praise for lighting up the summer after a miserable 18 months for the country, and Hugh Muir argues that despite defeat the team’s diversity has shown what the nation can be. Here’s how the papers saw the outcome as editors searched for solace amid the sadness.

Euro 2020 final: Italy and England fans react to final penalty kick – video
Euro 2020 final: Italy and England fans react to final penalty kick – video

As for the actual football, nagging doubts will remain about what could have been after Luke Shaw scored with only two minutes on the clock. England fans rode the proverbial rollercoaster at the fanzone in Trafalgar Square and around the country, going from ecstasy at the early goal to misery after the penalties. They watched as the relentless Azzurri equalised and fulfilled coach Roberto Mancini’s promise of restoring Italian pride, sparking great celebrations back home.

Covid caution – Boris Johnson is today expected to announce the lifting of all remaining coronavirus restrictions next Monday – but with a plea for caution and people being urged to continue wearing masks in enclosed spaces. Experts have advised the government to brace for at least 1 to 2 million new cases of coronavirus in the coming weeks if the restrictions on public gatherings and social distancing are removed, prompting ministers to adopt a noticeably less bullish tone about so-called “freedom” day on 19 July. Analysis of 75,000 coronavirus patients has suggested that the flu jab may reduce the severe effects of Covid-19 such as stroke, deep vein thrombosis and sepsis. A survey of 2,000 people in Britain concludes that three-quarters have re-evaluated their lives during the pandemic, prompting big decisions about jobs, homes and relationships. Abroad, Sydney’s lockdown looks set to be extended after its outbreak worsened. You can follow all the developments in the pandemic at our live blog.

Wipe right – The Treasury wiped all data from more than 100 government-issued mobile phones last year because their users entered the wrong pin. The lost messages include those sent by Tom Scholar, the department’s permanent secretary, which MPs have said should be released. The civil servant was asked this year to reveal messages he exchanged with David Cameron about the former prime minister’s lobbying for Greensill Capital. Scholar told MPs the texts had been wiped.

Cuba protests – Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets of the capital, Havana, and other cities in protest at food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis. In one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in recent years, the marchers disrupted traffic in the city and some later clashed with police. One said: “We are fed up with the queues, the shortages.”

Party of property – The Conservative party has an “unhealthy financial reliance” on property developers, according to a report by Transparency International. It says more than a fifth of all donations to the party over the past decade came from the residential property sector, creating a “a real risk of aggregative corruption”.

Getting away from it all in the Lake District.
Getting away from it all in the Lake District. Photograph: James Forrest

Summer escape – What better places to get away from it all and forget about the football than north Wales and Cumbria. They have been named as the nation’s top holiday destinations this year, eclipsing the seaside charms of Devon and Cornwall for the first time, according to a survey. It also finds that the average Briton will take two domestic holidays this year as uncertainty over foreign travel lingers.

Today in Focus podcast: the lost souls of the pandemic

Hannah’s brother Paul dropped out of contact almost a decade ago. She never stopped thinking about him – and, as it did for many others, the pandemic led her to try to find him again. Anushka Asthanaspeaks to Hannah about her search for Paul, and how she has reflected on the history of their relationship in the urgent new light of a global health crisis.

Today in Focus

The pandemic’s missing people



Lunchtime read: Gina Yashere: ‘This is who I am’

Comedian Gina Yashere // Bethany Mollenkof for The Guardian
Photograph: Bethany Mollenkof/The Guardian

As standup comic Gina Yashere publishes a new memoir, she tells Simon Hattenstone about her battle for recognition in the UK, coming out, and moving across the Atlantic and making it big. “This is who I am, take me or leave me, I don’t give a shit,” she says. “And my comedy got way better after that.”


Moments after Novak Djokovic captured his sixth Wimbledon title, with an enthralling and high-class victory over the Italian gunslinger Matteo Berrettini, he patted the grass like an old friend before chewing on a single blade. It has become a familiar ritual. But, for the first time on Centre Court, the Serb was heralded with shouts once reserved for his great rival Roger Federer. “Novak, you’re the GOAT!” several of his fans cried. When Ash Barty sat down with her team just after the Australian Open to work out her plans for the coming months, two things sat at the top of her priority list; Wimbledon and the Olympics. One down, one to go.

England lost the second Twenty20 in dramatic fashion, collapsing from 106 for two to 140 for eight to fall nine runs short of the target set for them by India. The British & Irish Lions have swapped the harsh landscape of the highveld for the spectacular Western Cape, but on this tour that simply means staring at a different hotel-room wall. The latest Covid-19 news from the South Africa camp, where their World Cup-winning captain, Siya Kolisi, is among a fresh clutch of players to have tested positive, is a reminder that the resumption of normal service remains a distant dream.


Britain’s richest 10% have gained an average of £50,000, dwarfing increases for the poorest third of the population, and widening the country’s wealth gap. The Resolution Foundation thinktank says wealth has increased during lockdown as a result of a lack of spending opportunities and rising house prices, but the benefits had been skewed to the richest by a ratio of more than 500 to 1. The FTSE100 is set to be a bit deflated this morning while the pound is on $1.389 and €1.170.

The papers

Guardian front page, Monday 12 July 2021
Photograph: The Guardian

The Guardian’s poster-style front page features a picture of Gareth Southgate consoling Bukayo Saka after his penalty miss ended England’s Euro2020 dream. “So close” reads the headline, while the Telegraph has a similar picture and the headline “The ultimate agony … penalties heartbreak again”. The Mirror and i both go with a simple “Heartbreak”, while the Mail has “It all ends in tears”. The Times headline says “Penalty curse denies England their dream” while the Express and Sun both emphasise the positive with, respectively, “It hurts … but we’re so proud of you” and Pride of lions”. The Scotsman splashes with “Aviation bosses issue plea for quarantine-free travel” and the FT has “Brussels targets aviation fuel tax in drive to cut carbon emissions”.

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