Published: 23:06, 11 July 2021
| Updated: 14:06, 12 July 2021
England have lost out on becoming champions of Europe by the narrowest of margins as fans across Kent turned out to witness the moment penalties failed to end 55 years of hurt.
The young Lions' Euro 2020 bid ended in heartache tonight after a penalty shoot-out ended 3-2 to Italy.
Things got off to a cracking start when Luke Shaw scored the quickest-ever goal in a European Championship final with crowds going wild.
The Manchester United left-back netted his first goal for the Three Lions after just two minutes.
But Leonardo Bonucci dealt a massive blow to England's hopes in the 67th minute.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford appeared to have made a great save before Bonucci rattled in a goal.
After England's opening goal the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge clapped, while Prince George beamed with delight.
In a tense penalty shoot-out England scored two, but Italy triumphed with three.
Penalties were scored by Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and 19-year-old Bukayo Saka all missed. Saka had to be comforted by manager, Gareth Southgate, after the final whistle.
At the Scared Crow in West Malling, Italian chef Fabio Morol was outnumbered by England fans. He had predicted the outcome earlier on this evening saying: "If it goes to penalties Italy will win.”
Speaking to the BBC England captain Harry Kane said: "Penalties are the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It wasn't our night, but we had a fantastic tournament and we should hold our heads up high. It hurts and it's going to hurt for a while now.
"Italy were a great side, we got off to a perfect start, but they got their breakthrough from their set pieces."
The game, which was watched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie, began after an RAF flypast and performance by the Coldstream Guards band as part of a tournament closing ceremony.
There were chaotic scenes in central London ahead of the match, with some fans even trying to force their way into Wembley Stadium as excitement at England’s historic Euro 2020 final reached fever pitch.
The Metropolitan Police said the force had been working with Wembley’s security staff.
“Earlier this afternoon there was a breach of security at Wembley Stadium, which resulted in a small number of people getting into the stadium without a ticket,” the force said.
“We will also support action by Wembley Stadium officials to identify those without tickets and eject them.”
James Black, from Kent, who was at the stadium said: "As we were entering the ground we did see some people rushing at stewards trying to push their way in.
"The atmosphere was amazing right to the very end. The Italian fans were brilliant too. It was like one big football party.
"We were all absolutely gutted at the end, it's always the worst way to lose a football match."
In Maidstone David Strang, originally from Glasgow but who now lives in Chatham and is 21, said: "I can't think of a bad word to say about the England team. They played brilliantly right up until the end."
Daniel Reames, 19, from Maidstone, said: "I'm so proud of all of our boys. They're young and some of them hadn't even been blooded into a European Championships before this. The World Cup next year is ours, trust me."
At The Coachworks in Ashford Alfie Murphy, 25, praised England: “It does me make proud because every single player on the team were putting their all in.
“Even though we didn’t win, you could tell in every game we’ve had they were putting in everything they had and it was banging.”
Tracy May, 52, added: “We did so well and [I’m] so proud we got this far but absolutely gutted we weren’t able to do that final bit.”
But another supporter said: “We were a shambles.”