WATCH: Bukayo Saka discusses his vital penalty and flashbacks of his Euro 2020 mistake

Football: Bukayo Saka bent down at the center place and stared up at the sky. Saka was alone, relishing a moment of atonement. he remainder of England's players had raced to the goal to celebrate.

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Varun Sarwate
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Bukayo Saka (Source: Goal.com)

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Bukayo Saka bent down at the center place and stared up at the sky. Saka was alone, relishing a moment of atonement. The remainder of England's players had raced to the goal to celebrate alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Pickford, the team's two-star players from Saturday's penalty shootout victory against Switzerland in the European Championship quarterfinals.

Bukayo Saka penalty in the Euro final in 2021 was saved, securing Italy's championship at Wembley Stadium. Saka and other Black players Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who all missed their penalty shots in the shootout, were subjected to horrible racial abuse on social media as a result.

Saka was 19 years old at the time, the youngest player in a multi-ethnic England group that had captured the hearts of the soccer-mad country – at least before the loss to Italy. Three years later, Saka was back, making the long, lonely trek from the center circle to the penalty spot to take England's third shot in the shootout against Switzerland.

This time, he reached the bottom corner of the net and cupped his ears in delight as England won 5-3 in the shootout following a 1-1 tie in which Saka equalized in the 80th minute. As per AP News, “For me, it’s something I embrace,” Saka said of the pressure he was feeling taking a penalty again for England. “You can fail once but you have a choice if you put yourself in that position or not again.

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Extremely difficult to recover from that tragic - Bukayo Saka

“I’m a guy who is going to put myself in that position. I believed in myself. And when I saw the ball hit the back of the net, I was a very happy man.”

Saka acknowledged that it had been "extremely difficult" to recover from that tragic July 2021 night, but she had "used it to make me stronger." He said that when he took the penalty against Switzerland, he wasn't considering his miss against Italy.

Saka currently has two goals at Euro 2024: one against Switzerland, who seized the lead in the 75th minute at Duesseldorf Arena through Breel Embolo, and another that he set up for Jude Bellingham in the group stage. Saka equalized by cutting in from the right and curving a low shot from the area's fringe into the corner. 

UEFA Euro 2024 Euro 2024 England Bukayo Saka
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