Italy was crowned European champions for the first time since 1968 after a fertile penalty shoot-out in twists and turns, beating England 3-2 on shots as extra time didn’t end a 1-1 draw.
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65,000 spectators watched in shock as Gianluigi Donnarumma fired in Bucayo Saka’s shot to hand the victory to the Italians, who entered the tournament with a perfect record of seven wins.
And the English, who reached the European Championship final for the first time, will have to wait until the 2022 World Cup to win a major tournament, which they have failed to achieve since the 1966 World Cup.
Ironically, England would never be late in this Euro as they scored the first goal in Luke Shaw’s half ball in the second minute. It was the fastest goal in the history of the European Championship final.
After the end of the game and two more times where the tension was to be cut with a knife, the penalty shootout was the perfect culmination of a very exciting and interesting match.
Jordan Pickford saved the second Italian and Harry Maguire scored the second English shot to give his team a 2-1 lead. The Italians drew 2-2 and it was the third English shot that turned.
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Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho entered specifically for this session, and missed their shot, with the first hitting the post and the second being stopped by Donnarumma.
Between the two strikes, Federico Bernardeschi scored at Italy’s fourth attempt to make it 3-2. Jorginho could secure victory at Italy’s fifth attempt, but Pickford miraculously saved. Donnarumma ran to stop 19-year-old Bucayo Saka and confirm the Squadra Azzura win. The 22-year-old goalkeeper was named the tournament’s best player.
The English pressured the Italian team early with a goal by Luke Shaw.
But the Italians bowed their heads to increase their momentum as the match progressed.
They were rewarded when Leonardo Bonucci caught a ball that hit the post in the 67th minute.
On the offensive side, the Italians put in a good showing, often being the aggressors. Federico Chiesa, who was released due to injury in the 80th minute, was the main architect of the Italian threats.
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Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini believes that justice has been done for Italy, which very few observers favored at the start of the tournament.
“We deserved to win, we feel there is something special in the atmosphere. Despite the shock at the start of the match, we took matters into our own hands until the end of the match.”
Coach Roberto Mancini did not fail to underscore Italy’s state of neglect.
“It was impossible to look at this result at some point, the guys were great.”
England manager Gareth Southgate has praised his players in an interview with the BBC.
“Sometimes they were playing very well and other times we didn’t hold the ball well, especially in the second half.”
“We are very disappointed, but I think the players were very respectful,” Southgate admitted.
England captain Harry Kane agreed.
“The guys couldn’t have done more. It’s the worst feeling in the world to lose on penalties.
“We had a perfect start, but we probably shrunk a lot,” Kane added.