Italy Break English Hearts at Wembley in Dramatic Penalty Shootout
This is the second time Italy have won the Euros after 1968.
It’s going to Rome!
Italy won their second European title on Sunday after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved three penalties in a dramatic penalty shootout against England. The contest was locked at 1-1 at the end of extra-time at Wembley, paving the way for Italy to become the first team to win two penalty shootouts in the same tournament.
It was also the second time a European Championship final was decided on penalties.
England’s Jordan Pickford made two saves but missed penalties from Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka proved decisive. Andrea Belotti was the first to miss for Italy but the shootout turned on its head when Rashford’s spot-kick hit the post.
Italy not only remain unbeaten against England in major tournaments but also took their unbeaten streak to 34 games, winning the second of their fourth finals in the competition. Italy, remember, were at one of their lowest points when they failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018.
For the England men’s team, this was their second major final after 1966 when they won the World Cup at Wembley.
Before the second minute rolled over, Luke Shaw found the best possible stage to score his first goal for England as he smashed it home off a Kieran Trippier assist from the right. The right back found the left back on the other end of the penalty box with an inch perfect cross and Shaw hammered it home past a stunned Donnarumma.
England were off to the best possible start at Wembley, and even though Italy clawed their way back in the first half, Jordan Pickford’s clean sheet stayed intact.
After the water break, Italy continued to keep the pressure on England, pegging them back into their own half.
Midway through the second period, the Azzurri found the back of the net as Leornado Bonucci bundled it home from close range from a corner.
Italy had more than two-thirds of the possession as the match progressed but could not find a winner in regulation time. Italy was dealt a body blow when an in-form Federico Chiesa, a thorn in England’s flesh, had to come off close to the end of the second half due to injury.
England struggled to find their composure throughout the second period but managed to hold on after the equaliser to take the game to extra time and, after another edgy half-hour, a penalty shootout beckoned.
The Three Lions missed three of five penalties, Rashford hit the post and Donnarumma denied Sancho before a 19-year-old Saka saw his spot-kick saved too.
Harry Kane and Harry Maguire were on target for England while Pickford kept hopes alive with saves from Belotti and Jorginho while Domenico Berardi, Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi.
England were playing in a first major final in 55 years since winning the 1966 World Cup. This was their latest defeat in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.
Italy on the other hand won their second title after 53 years.
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