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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Revealed: How partying with family members helped England squad deal with Euros heartache in hours after Italy defeat

England’s players danced a conga behind Harry Maguire in the early hours of Monday morning as they tried to put the pain of their Euros final defeat behind them.

A function had already been arranged at the Hilton Hotel opposite Wembley, where it was hoped a glorious celebration could be staged.

Instead, for those who opted to join families and loved ones, it was a bitter-sweet occasion; a release after the intensity of a month-long tournament and the training camp before it, but also acknowledgement of their achievement in reaching only the nation’s second-ever final. Others just wanted to return to The Grove, the hotel that had been their pre-match HQ.

At the Hilton, players’ tables were marked out by place cards with their shirt numbers on, while highlights on the tournament were shown on big screens. Bud Light was on offer again, just as it had been for the barbecue with Ed Sheeran, while the players were still dressed in their tracksuits. England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney joined them for some of the evening.

The conga, led by Maguire, showed spirits remained high, even in the disappointment of their penalty shootout defeat by the Italians.

Gareth Southgate’s “official” Euros debrief came via a huddle on the pitch after Bukayo Saka’s saved penalty condemned England to at least 18 more months of hurt.

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