Italy Win EURO 2020! (Sports News) – Italy win their second ever European Championship after beating England 1(3) – 1(2) at the latter’s home ground of Wembley Stadium. It was a win in dramatic fashion for the Azzurri, who last won the competition back in 1968. Despite winning two World Cups since then (1982, 2006), they never figured in another EURO final until 2012, where they lost to Spain.
Italy Win EURO 2020 - Recap of the Final
The match started off strong with Luke Shaw executing a well-placed strike off of a cross from Kieran Trippier just two minutes of the game, sending the mostly pro-England crowd into a frenzy. The Three Lions squad played strongly for the rest of the half as Italy tried to equalise, and managed to hold on to the 1-0 lead. By the 66th minute, however, the Azzurri, who had been undefeated in 33 games, was able to level as Leonardo Bonucci slotted in a goal away from Jordan Pickford who was out of place as he deflected Marco Verratti’s header off of Lorenzo Insigne’s corner kick. The scoreline stayed 1-1 at full, with neither of the sides finding a breakthrough in extra time.
Italy went first in the penalty shootout, and Domenico Berardi and Harry Kane were able to convert the first two penalty kicks for each side. Andrea Belotti’s shot was then saved by Pickford, and Harry Maguire converted his effort, bring England into the lead. Bonucci then levelled on his turn, and Marcus Rashford’s shot hit the post creating a 2-2 tie in the shootout. Federico Bernardeschi broke the deadlock soon after, and Gianluigi Donnarumma made big saves against Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka in the last two rounds of shootouts, winning the final for Italy even as Jorginho’s penalty was saved by Pickford.
Italy Win EURO 2020 - The Country Celebrates
Donnarumma was also named the Player of the Tournament because of his exploits. The winner of the Golden Boot was Cristiano Ronaldo, who, despite Portugal’s elimination in the quarter-finals, scored a tournament-best 5 goals and made 2 assists.
The win brings Italy’s undefeated streak to 34, just one game away from the record set by Brazil for the longest unbeaten run in international football. Roberto Mancini was hired as manager months after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and was able to turn around the squad in a remarkable period of time.
“I was due this,” said Mancini, who experienced heartbreak as an Italian international. “I was very fortunate to play in a great side in 1990 and a terrific under-21 team in 1988. Despite the fact we were the best team, we didn’t win it and lost both times on penalties.”
The former manager of Manchester City (2009-2013) described his tears as being for the whole of Italy. “It was the emotion which happens after achieving something incredible. It was the emotion of seeing the guys celebrate and the fans in the stands,” he said.
“Seeing everything we have managed to create, all of the hard work we have put in over the last three years, but specifically the last 50 days which have been very hard. It’s the fact we have been able to forge this team spirit over the last 50 days, they have really created something which can never be separated going forward. They will always be synonymous with this triumph.”
Captain Giorgio Chiellini could also not hide his emotion over the win. “A few tears fell. We all deserved it, at this age we realise even more what it means to win such a trophy,” said the Italian veteran player. “We have been saying that something magical is in the air since the end of May, day after day.”
Italy Win EURO 2020 - England's Drought Continues
The loss was a tough one for England, who were appearing in their first major final since the 1966 World Cup, which was the only time they won an international trophy.
Gareth Southgate shouldered the blame for the Three Lions losing performance. “We prepared as well as we could for that and that’s my responsibility,” said the England manager, who also led the squad to their first World Cup semi-final appearance since 1966. “I chose (Kane, Maguire, Rashford, Sancho and Saka) to take the kicks. No one is on their own in that situation. We decide to make the changes right at the end of the game and we win and lose together as a team.”
“We worked on it in training and that’s the order we came to,” Southgate added. “My call as coach it is always the risk you run but they have been by far the best and to get all those attacking players on you have to do it late. It was a gamble but if we gambled earlier we may have lost the game in extra time.”
Harry Kane was nevertheless proud of his side’s performance. “The boys couldn’t have given more,” the English captain said to the BBC. “Penalties are obviously the worst thing in the world when you lose. It wasn’t our night but it’s been a fantastic tournament, and we should be proud, hold our heads up high. Of course it’s going to hurt for a while but we are on the right track and we hopefully we can progress from this year.
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