Italy lifted their second European Championship trophy after they defeated England 3-2 in penalty shoot-out in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium in London. The match had ended 1-1 after extra time. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missed for the Three Lions as Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties in a row to take his team to the title.
This is the first major international trophy that Italy have won since their 2006 FIFA World Cup win. The Azzurri had last won the continental title back in 1968. Italy had reached the final in Euro 2000 and Euro 2012, as well, but had lost to France, and Spain, respectively.
England were eyeing their first European Championship trophy and their first major international football title since winning the FIFA World Cup at home in 1966.
England full-back Luke Shaw gave England a strong start as he sent a thunderous left-footed volley past Italy goalkeeper Donnarumma into the back of the net to give his side the lead in the 2nd minute. It was the fastest goal ever scored in a Euro final.
Italy failed to get their passing game going in the first 20 minutes. Federico Chiesa had a shot from far but it went wide off the goalpost. Roberto Mancini’s team took control of the match after the half-hour mark but the equaliser didn’t come in the first half.
The Three Lions didn’t take long to set the pace and went into the lead as early as the second minute. Luke Shaw scored the opener with a half volley on the back post after connecting a cross from Kieran Trippier.
Italy tried to make a quick response but were failing to break beyond England’s backline. They couldn’t create a threatening chance until the 35th minute when Federico Chiesa came closest to equalise but dragged his shot an inch wide.
England, on the other end, were forced to play deep and didn’t attempt to reach the goal again for the remainder of the period.
The second half saw the Azzurri continuing pilling the pressure, but this time reached the goal area a couple of times with Lorenzo Insigne and Chiesa both forcing saves from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The extended spell of dominance finally paid off in the 67th minute when Leonardo Bonucci mopped home a rebound after Marco Verratti’s header, from a corner kick, hit the post.
Both teams continued to search for the winner in the remainder of the 2nd half, but despite a few nervy minutes, neither of the two teams could take the lead. The match went to extra time.
The introduction of Jack Grealish saw England create some chances as they finally moved into the Italian half with intent. The first 15 minutes of the extra time saw neither of the two teams getting any clear chances. Both teams went in search of the winner in the second half of extra time but it ended 1-1.
Gareth Southgate took a huge gamble as he brought on Marcus Rashford and Jaden Sancho just for the penalties with the clock running down. It eventually turned out to be a disastrous move as both the substitutes missed their penalties.
It was all level at the start as Berardi and Kane put their spot kicks into the net. Pickford then saved from Belotti and Harry Maguire’s vicious right footer put England’s noses ahead. But it all started to go pear shaped for the home team thereafter. Bonucci converted coolly for Italy to put things back at 2-2, while Rashford hit the post after a long delayed spot kick.
Bernardeschi converted his penalty and Donnarumma saved Sacho’s shot to bring Italy within one goal of victory. But the dependable Jorginho couldn’t beat Pickford, who made a great save to keep England in the match. 19-year-old Bukayo Saka took the decisive spot kick and Donnarumma saved again to bring joy for the Italian team and the supporters.
The victory in the final completes a great turnaround in the fortunes of the Italian national team, who had failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Roberto Mancini was put in charge to bring the team back to a world class level and he has delivered a major trophy within three years.
Italy are now unbeaten in 34 straight international matches. The campaign and Italy’s long unbeaten record is similar to the national team’s performance in the run up to their FIFA World Cup win in 2006.
Italy went on to win the match 3-2 in the penalty shootout to deny England their first-ever European Championship.