Italy shocked the footballing world by winning the European Championship final. The hosts were through to the final after a 1-0 win over France in the semi-final, but saw their chances of winning the tournament evaporate when they lost 2-0. Then they defeated England 2-1 in the third place play off. If Italy had lost, there would have been three English teams in the final. But they won, and now they are European champions.
For the first time in its history, the UEFA European Football Championship final was decided on penalties. It was a heart-wrenching night for England, who lost out on their first chance to lift the trophy after losing to Italy on penalties in Sunday’s final.
England’s attempt to end 55 years of waiting for a major trophy ended in defeat on penalties as Italy won Euro 2020 at Wembley.
In a night of anticipation, excitement and finally heartbreak in a feverish atmosphere, England was ready for their happiest day in 30 years. July 1966 when Luke Shaw gave them a perfect start after two minutes of play.
Italy, unbeaten in 33 games prior to this final, gradually came back into the game and scored in the 67th minute. The home side equalised in the 57th minute when Leonardo Bonucci hit the post after a shot by Marco Verratti was blocked by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
After a thrilling extra time which did not lead to a victory, the final ended in a penalty shootout and a bitter disappointment for England coach Gareth Southgate and his players, who went into the final full of expectation and excitement.
England missed three of the five penalty kicks: Marcus Rashford hit the post, Gianluigi Donnarumma saved on a shot by Jadon Sancho and then – so cruel for such a young player – Bukayo Saca, an Arsenal teenager, forced the giant Italian goalkeeper to parry his hit-and-run shot.
Harry Kane and Harry Maguire scored for England, but while Pickford kept hope alive with saves from Andrea Belotti and Giorginho, Domenico Berardi, Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy.
The tearful Saku, who had shown so much courage by coming forward, was comforted by his teammates and coach, but there was no real consolation for them or the fans gathered at Wembley Stadium.
England fail, Italy win
England’s years of misery continue, but in the first 30 minutes of this final, it seemed that the moment the country had waited more than 20,000 days for had finally arrived.
Southgate’s side took the lead and the only change the manager made – replacing Sack with Kieran Trippier – paid off immediately: Trippier picked up a perfect pass from Kane, found Shaw at the back line and headed past Donnarumma.
England were at their best and, encouraged by a large and frenzied crowd, they held their own against a talented and realistic Italian side before suddenly finding their feet in the closing moments of the first half.
Italy dominated possession and it was no surprise that they claimed back the equaliser and then looked the more likely winners as Southgate’s side, who had run so much at the start, began to struggle, especially after the excellent Declan Rice was missing through injury.
To everyone’s surprise, Southgate waited until injury time to bring on Jack Grealish, but then the game was heading for a penalty, and it came.
Sancho and Rashford came onto the pitch in the closing minutes, presumably to prepare for the penalty shootout. But much to the chagrin of Southgate, who has achieved much at Euro 2020, the action backfired as both teams failed to cash in on their penalty kicks.
Pickford heroically saved two penalties, but even he was close to tears after England’s fate was sealed.
Italy won and Southgate and his players looked downcast. They received sympathetic applause from the English fans, who had arrived with high hopes, but left Wembley with shattered dreams of a major trophy.
England came close to reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, but that defeat will weigh all the more heavily as they reached the final with so much confidence and had the chance to finally win a second trophy at the near-future tournament that culminates at Wembley.
They made progress, but England couldn’t clear the final hurdle.
England’s improvement offers real hope
Southgate has led England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in the last two tournaments and now to the European Cup final.
Having reached the last 16 with victories over Germany, Ukraine and Denmark, the defeat of England will be very painful.
Southgate now needs to know if he did everything right in the final in terms of tackling, substitutions and penalty takers, but when the dust settles England can reflect on the progress they have made.
Against Russia, England took another step forward and Southgate now has a strong mix of youth and experience in preparation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Saka has matured this tournament, while England have some interesting young players with Sancho, Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Jude Bellingham, complemented by Grealish.
Raheem Sterling has had an excellent season, Kane has shown flashes of his world-class talent and the central defence of John Stones and Maguire has been reliable. Pickford also made an excellent contribution to the goal.
It won’t bring comfort in the hours after such a devastating loss, but at least England can look forward with optimism.
Italy, worthy winners
Italy won its sixth world title (four World Cups, two Euros); among European countries, only Germany (seven) has won more titles.
While the Italian players and staff celebrated in front of enthusiastic fans, manager Roberto Mancini could not complain about the work done. A 34. The unbeaten match crowned the Euro 2020 title.
Mancini has assembled an impressive mix of youth and experience, and in defence he can always count on Juventus and Italy’s two old warhorses Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who despite being 70 years old are as resilient as ever.
Italy proved no surprise to a Wembley full of English fans by beating Belgium and Spain in the knockout stages.
And this after missing out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which was seen as a national sporting humiliation.
Now Italy are back as winners of Euro 2020, which is a testament to the work of Mancini and his players.
Italy end of long waiting period – Statistics
- Italy won its second European title and first in 53 years (also 1968). This is the longest interval between two European championships for a single country, surpassing Spain’s 44-year wait between 1964 and 2008.
- England have won just 22% (two out of nine) of their penalty kicks in major tournaments (World Cup/Euro), the lowest percentage of any European country with three or more penalty kicks.
- Italy lost for the first time at Euro 2020, playing a total of 65 minutes in the final against England, 21 minutes more than in the 33 unbeaten matches (in all competitions) before the final (44).
- England produced their lowest ball possession at Wembley (34.4%) since November 2016 against Spain (34.3%).
- Gareth Southgate has made at least one change to England’s starting line-up in 37 consecutive matches, making a total of 200 changes in that period. The last time he stayed with the same starting lineup was in the 2018 World Cup semifinals.
- Luke Shaw’s goal (England’s first goal) in the European Championship final was the fastest goal of the final, as well as the fastest goal of the entire English team and the earliest goal Italy had ever faced in the final.
- At the age of 34 years and 71 days, Leonardo Bonucci of Italy became the oldest player to score in the final of a European Championship and the second oldest player to score for a European team in the final of a major tournament (World Cup/Euro), after Nils Liedholm in the 1958 Sweden-Brazil match (35 years, 264 days).
- The game against Italy was only the second time in 61 appearances for England that Harry Kane failed to score or create a goal opportunity – he also did so in a friendly against Switzerland in September 2018.
Best player of the match
- 21G Donnarumma
- 2i Lorenzo.
- 19BonucciCatch at 55 minutes.
- 3ChielliniTaken for 90 minutes
- 13Emerson will be in the 118. Replaced by Florenza in the second minute
- 18BarellaIn the 47. Replaced in the 54th minute. Replaced by Cristante in the second minute
- 8GeorginhoCatch at 114 min.
- 6VerrattiReplaces Locatellata in the 96th minute. Minute
- 14 ChiesaIn the 86. Replaced by Bernardeschi in the second minute.
- 17ImmobileSubstitution for Berardiat 55’min
- 10Insigne Dismissed in the 84th minute. MinuteReplaced by Belotti in the 90th minute.
Supply of parts
- 2WalkerReplaced by Sancho in 120′ minute
- 6MaguireWith a duration of 106 min.
- 12TrippierIn the 71. Replaced by Saka in the second minute.
- 4Substitution for Henderson at 74’minSubstitution for Rashford at 120’min
- 19Mount replaced byGrealishop99’minutes
- 9 canoes
Supply of parts
Referee: Björn Kuipers
Attendance: 67 173
- End of match, Italy 1(3), England 1(2).
- End of penalty kicks, Italy 1(3), England 1(2).
- Punishment enforced! Bukayo Saka (England) misses with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.
- Punishment enforced! Jorginho (Italy) fails to capitalise on a good chance. His right footed shot from outside the box landed in the bottom left corner.
- Punishment enforced! Jadon Sancho (England) misses with a right footed shot from the bottom right corner.
- Goal! Italy 1(3), England 1(2). Federico Bernardeschi (Italy) left footed shot from the centre of the box.
- Missed penalty shot! Still Italy 1(2), England 1(2). Marcus Rashford (England) hits the left post with his right foot.
- Goal! Italy 1(2), England 1(2). Leonardo Bonucci (Italy) wins a free kick in the top right corner.
- Goal! Italy 1(1), England 1(2). Harry Maguire (England) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the top right corner.
- Punishment enforced! Andrea Belotti (Italy) misses a big chance: His right footed shot lands in the bottom right corner.
- Goal! Italy 1(1), England 1(1). Harry Kane (England) right footed shot from the bottom left corner.
- Goal! Italy 1(1), England 1. Domenico Berardi (Italy) shoots from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner.
- The penalty shootout starts with Italy 1, England 1.
- The second half ended in extra time, Italy 1, England 1.
- Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
- Bukayo Sac (England) is penalised after committing a foul.
- The attempt failed. Bryan Cristante (Italy) header from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Set up by Federico Bernardeschi after a corner.
- Substitute, England. Jaydon Sancho replaces Kyle Walker.
- Substitute, England. Marcus Rashford replaces Jordan Henderson.
- Corner, Italy. Jordan Henderson misses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who took England’s penalties in Euro 2020?
England’s penalties in Euro 2020 will be taken by Jordan Pickford, Kieran Trippier, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
Who scored Englands penalties against Italy?
The England penalties were scored by Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane.
Who took the last penalty Euro 2020?
The last penalty in Euro 2020 was taken by the Netherlands’ Jasper Cillessen.
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