Italy beat England in Euro 2020 final thanks to Italian Goalkeeper’s Heroic Saves

Italy beat England in Euro 2020 final thanks to Italian Goalkeeper's Heroic Saves

Italy’s men’s national team has won the European Championships for the first time since 1968 after a penalty shootout victory over England at Wembley. For England, 55 years of hurt go on.

FT: Italy 1-1 England – Italy win Euro 2020 after beating England in a penalty shootout
(Bonucci 67′ – Shaw 2′)
Wembley, London
“Football’s coming home,” they sung – but in the end it went to Rome.

For the first time since 1968, and just three years after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy’s men’s national team has won the European Championship thanks to victory over England at Wembley.

For England, it came in the most devastating of manners – more penalty shootout heartbreak in a major tournament. Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, both brought on as late substitutes to take penalties, both missed for England, as did teenager Bukayo Saka.

But for Italy, it’s the fairytale culmination to Roberto Mancini’s three years in charge and a moment of cathartic redemption for a nation which has suffered so much over the last 18 months of the pandemic.

Andrea Belotti and Jorginho also missed for Italy in the dramatic shootout, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was the hero after saving twice.

“No-one expected this from us three years ago,” said a surprisingly controlled Mancini at full-time. “The lads, I don’t know what to say, they were fantastic. And the fans – it’s so important for everyone.”

Asked whether he had achieved both his pre-tournament aims of “winning while playing good football,” he replied: “Yes, we’ve done that.”

One year late due to the pandemic, but the Euro 2020 final is underway. Both teams take the knee in their traditional kits: Italy all in blue, England all in white.

2′ GOAL! Italy 0-1 England (Shaw)
What a start for England! Kieran Trippier crosses from the right and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw fires home on the half-volley at the back post. The Three Lions could not have dreamt of a better start to their first major final since 1966.

10′ Chaotic pace suiting England
It’s been a breathless start here at a rainy Wembley – a dream start for England, a nightmare start for Italy. Lorenzo Insigne has tried to equalize from a free kick but, so far, the chaotic speed of the game seems to suit England better.

16′ England’s wingbacks
Gareth Southgate’s switch to a back five (three central defenders and two wingbacks) was a response to Italy’s attacking threat – but it’s actually paying offensive dividends for his own team. The two wingbacks, Trippier on the right and goalscorer Shaw on the left, are causing the Azzurri all sorts of trouble.

23′ Italian possession but no bite
As expected, Italy’s technically gifted midfield is starting to get on the ball more, the Azzurri enjoying up to 60% possession. But England are defending comfortably and pose a major threat every time they counterattack.

Laurence Griffiths/REUTERS
Laurence Griffiths/REUTERS

30′ The Italians’ Job
With half an hour played, England thoroughly deserve their 1-0 lead, courtesy of Luke Shaw’s second-minute volley – the fastest ever goal in a European Championship final. And Italy have real job on their hands: England have only conceded one goal at this tournament so far, and even that was an unstoppable Denmark free-kick.

35′ Italy’s best chance yet
They’ve not been gelling as a team so far in the first half, so Federico Chiesa goes it alone, dancing past a couple of English midfielders and shooting low from outside the box – just wide, but the closest Italy have come to an equalizer.

45+4′ Half-time! Italy 0-1 England
Dutch referee Björn Kuipers blows the half-time whistle and England are 45 minutes away from a first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup. They lead 1-0 thanks to Luke Shaw’s early half-volley, and have looked solid ever since, despite Italy enjoying the lion’s share of possession.

46′ Kick-off in the second half
No changes to either side at half-time, and we’re back underway.

Germany legend Klinsmann: “Go for the second goal!”
Legendary Germany striker Jürgen Klinsmann, who won Euro 1996 at Wembley, has been speaking to the BBC at half-time:

“What a start, what a goal, the place was rocking! England have been sharp, decisive and determined. If you want to do one thing against Italy, then go 1-0 up. Now Italy have to come out and play, and that’s where they struggle.

“Italy have to get creative and use the wings more – because England’s midfield with Rice and Philipps are too good. Italy need to get in between the lines but that’s difficult against England because they press and squeeze so well.

“England have to go for the second goal. Go for it!”

The best effort comes from a man who was already on the pitch, Italy’s best player Chiesa, who finds space on the edge of the England box and forces a neat save from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who in turn is furious at his defenders.

Henry Nicholls/REUTERS
Nervous England fans at a fan zone at Trafalgar Square in London

51′ Italy close again
After England took an early first-half lead, Italy attempt to score early in the second – but Lorenzo Insigne’s free kick is off target.

60′ Italy changes, Italy pressure, Pickford saves
Azzurri coach Roberto Mancini has brought on Bryan Cristante and Domenico Berardi for the disappointing Barella and Immobile, and it seems to be working as Italy start to fashion chances.

67′ GOAL! Italy 1-1 England (Bonucci)
Italy have been much better since half time and now they have their reward! It’s a proper striker’s goal, but it’s scored by a proper old school defender, Leonardo Bonucci. After England fail to clear an Italian corner, Pickford manages to tip Veratti’s effort onto the post but veteran Bonucci is quickest to react and Italy are level!

73′ Another Italy chance as England make changes
Berardi latches onto a long quarterback-style pass but volleys just over the bar. Suddenly, England are wobbling and Gareth Southgate reacts. The tricky Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is on for the veteran Trippier to provide fresh legs going forward, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson replaces Declan Rice to add experience in midfield.

82′ Into the final ten minutes…
We have a bit of delay to gather our thoughts as Italy’s Chiesa receives treatment after being fouled after another tricky run. It would be a shame for Italy if their best player had to go off with the game in the balance.

86′ Chiesa off
And Chiesa is indeed unable to continue. He is replaced by Federico Bernardeschi.

89′ Pitch invader!
Meanwhile, the England fans, quiet in the second half despite making up the vast majority inside Wembley, try to lift their team with a rendition of “Football’s Coming Home.” But at the moment, it could go either way.

Another England fan has a different method of offering support: running onto the pitch. Inspirational stuff, until he’s carted off by security. Contrary to earlier reports, we think he was clothed. We hope so, at least.

Carl Recine7REUTERS
Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci scores the equalizer

90′ Six minutes of injury time

90+4′ Safety first
Neither team is taking a risk in injury time as the clock ticks down …

90+6′ Yellow card for Chiellini
There can be no arguments about that! The oldest man on the pitch at 36 years does the only thing he can do to stop teenager Saka from racing away, dragging the 19-year-old to the ground via his collar. Call it experience, call it cynicism, call it desperation – it worked, but Chiellini has paid the price.

Full-time! Italy 1-1 England – extra time to come!
A game of two halves, literally. England with the early lead before dominating the first half. But Italy have used all their experience to drag themselves back into the game in the second half. 30 minutes of extra time to come.

And if you’re an Italy or England fan – how on earth are your nerves!? My hands are shaking just typing, although one friend informs me she’s seen enough and has gone to bed. There’s no helping some people.

Luke Shaw volleys England into the lead in the second minute, and they’ve been the better team since.

96′ Chance for Sterling in extra-time
England find a rare bit of space in between the Italian lines and Chiellini is on hand to take the ball off Raheem Sterling. From the resulting corner, Kalvin Phillips fires a low volley through the crowded penalty area – and wide.

99′ England substitution
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa replaces Chelsea’s Mason Mount – a like for like swap in attacking midfield.

103′ Chance for Italy!
English hearts are in mouths as Emerson speeds down the Italian left and crosses hard, but Bernardeschi is just a split-second too late and can’t get a touch on the ball. Pickford saves, and England clear.

105+1′ Half-time in extra-time
One half-chance chance apiece in a nervy first period of extra-time – but still no more goals. Understandably, both teams are wary of taking too many risks at this late stage. Fifteen minutes remain before a potential penalty shootout.

“Freed from desire”
The Wembley DJ has certainly hit the right note with GALA’s “Freed from Desire.” Fans of both teams shake off their nerves and forget the final for a second for a general dance off. Some serious foot-tapping going on at DW towers as well … la la la la la la la la la…

106′ Kick-off: the second half of extra-time
Back to business. And the nerves are back.

Laurence Friffiths/Getty Images/AFP

107′ Italy free-kick
Bernardeschi fires a long, long range free-kick at goal which Jordan Pickford initially fumbles but there’s no Italy striker following up and England survive.

108′ Grealish effort at the other end
Immediately, England counterattack and substitute Grealish’s effort is blocked by a packed group of Italian defenders. A goal now for either team would surely win it.

118′ Sancho and Rashford
Gareth Southgate brings on future Manchester United attacking duo Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, surely with penalties in mind. Rashford’s last penalty shoot-out though, the Europa League final against Villarreal, ended in defeat …

120+3′ Full-time in extra-time: Italy 1-1 England
The Euro 2020 final will be decided by a penalty shootout.

Penalty shootout

  1. Italy score – 1-0
  2. England score – 1-1
  3. Italy miss – 1-1
  4. England score – 1-2
  5. Italy score – 2-2
  6. England miss – 2-2
  7. Italy score – 3-2
  8. England miss – 3-2
  9. Italy miss – 3-2
  10. England miss – 3-2

Finally, Italy won the European Football Championship for the second time in its history. The previous success was dated back to 1968. Under the guidance of the former head coach of Zenit St. Petersburg Roberto Mancini, Squadra Azzurra brought her unbeaten streak to a record 34 meetings.

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