For the second time in the history of the Euro Championship, the lottery of penalty kicks was required to determine the champion and it was Italy who emerged the victors over a young England side.
After battling to a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s final at Wembley through the 90 minutes and extra time, the game went into penalty kicks. Italy took the first kick through Domenico Berardi and Harry Kane converted for England.
Andrea Belotti stepped up for Italy’s second. but it was saved by Jordan Pickford. Harry Maguire stepped up and lashed his shot past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give England the lead. Leonardo Bonucci scored and Marcus Rashford hit the right post with Donnarumma gone the opposite way to bring Italy level.
Federico Bernardeschi scored but Donnarumma saved from Jadon Sancho. Jorginho missed the fifth and with all the English hope was placed on 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, who lost his nerve as his kick was saved by Donnarumma.
It was Italy who got the game underway and within the first minute they were gifted a corner kick by Harry Maguire but it was well dealt with by the England defence. The resultant attack by England led to the first goal and it was an unlikely player in Luke Shaw that whipped in the ball after a nice cross from Kerian Trippier.
Italy pressed immediately after for an equaliser and in the sixth minute they won a free kick in a promising position but Lorenzo Insinge’s shot went inches over the bar.
There was an injury scare in the 21st minute for Italy as Jorginho appeared to have gotten a knock but the Chelsea star was able to shake it off and continue the game.
Both sides pressed hard to score and Federico Chiesa came quite close in the 35th for Italy but his low drive was few inches off Jordan Pickford’s left post. England at the other end also came close but the low cross by Shaw into the Italy box failed to get the simple tap in it needed.
Emerson was lucky to escape a booking after he clattered into Declan Rice in the 35th minute as Italy ended the first half on a high while Marco Veratti and Ciro Immobile had clear attempts at goal in added time but both were stopped by Pickford.
Expectedly, the second half started on a frenetic note and Jorginho was given the first yellow card of the game after a foul on Harry Kane. Moments afterward, the Three Lions had a shout for a penalty kick after Raheem Sterling went down in the box but it was waved off by the Dutch referee, Bjorn Kuipers.
Italy in the 50th minute had a free-kick just outside the England box but Insigne was unable to direct his shot at goal. Bonucci was booked for a foul on Sterling. Italy had another good chance on the hour mark with Chiesa firing a low shot but Pickford produced a world-class save to deny the Azzurri the equaliser they badly craved for.
But Mancini’s men made their domination pay as they found a way back with Bonucci scrapping in the equaliser in the 67th minute in a goalmouth melee. Southgate responded by pulling off Kieran Trippier for Bukayo Saka. He also sent on Jordan Herdasson for Declan Rice.
Hard as both sides pushed to win before penalties, it was not the case as the game went all the way and Italy prevailed at the end to end 53 years of waiting for a second title. But for England, the wait continues to Qatar 2022.
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