USAT jersey mets F 2016 Olympic Trials

Olympic Preview: Team USA Media Summit

USATF 2016 Olympic Trials

The Arsenal winger may have missed the deciding penalty in the Euro 2020 final, but his two goals against Iran put any doubts over him firmly to bed

It was a moment 17 months in the making. Time seemed to stand still when Bukayo Saka let fly 43 minutes into England’s World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.

Then, as the ball clipped the underside of the bar and rippled down the net, the release of emotion was instant. As Saka wheeled away in celebration, the smile on his face told its own story.

This was the Arsenal winger’s first-ever appearance at a World Cup and his first tournament appearance since the fateful night at Wembley when his penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and England were downed by Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

throughout every week, very, very rarely misses a training session and used all that motivation of criticism but also more so the love that everyone gave him, gave him an extra boost.”

England went into their game against Iran with noise and controversy dominating the build-up. And with their form so far in 2022 being scratchy at best, there were a lot of questions being asked about how Southgate’s team would perform.

Bukayo Saka England
But when you have players like Saka – and the prodigious Jude Bellingham – in your ranks, you will always have a chance to silence the critics.

Saka has been doing that for Arsenal ever since Donnarumma pushed away his penalty at Wembley in July last year and at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday he went one step further.

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“I feel in a good place,” he said, while attempting to sum up his emotions after the 6-2 success. “I feel the support and love from the fans, the coaching staff and my team-mates. That is all I need.

“I feel ready to give 100% and I will continue to do that every time I put the shirt on.”

What happened against Italy in Euro 2020 will never be forgotten. It’s a moment that will go down in England history, like all of the penalty failures that have gone before them.

But now it’s about looking forward for Saka, and the most exciting thing is that what we witnessed on Monday was just the start.

There is much, much more to come from Arsenal and England’s star boy.

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