Italy win Euro Cup 2020 after dramatic win over England


On a night of anticipation, complete frustration, and heartbreak in the feverish atmosphere, England looked forward to its happiest day since July 30, 1966, when Luke Shaw gave them a good start after two minutes.

Italy, unbeaten in 33 games before the final, gradually re-entered the game. And were level in the 67th minute when Leonardo Bonucci scored after England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford turned Marco Verratti’s header onto a post.

And, despite a tense period of extra time, they were unable to find a winner. There was a lot of frustration and disappointment for England manager Gareth Southgate and his players, who had arrived at the final on a wave of expectation and high emotion.

England missed three of five penalties. Earlier, Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar and Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Jadon Sancho. The cruelty for such a young player, Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka also saw the Italian goalkeeper save his shot.

England’s goals were scored by Harry Kane and Harry Maguire. While Pickford kept their hopes alive by saving Andrea Belotti and Jorginho, Domenico Berardi, Leonardo Bonucci, and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy.

Saka, a weeping 19-year-old who had shown the courage to move forward, was consoled by his teammates and manager. But there was no real consolation for them or the adoring crowds at Wembley.

England was defeated, while Italy triumphed.

England’s injury season continues, but it was expected that the country’s 20,000-day wait would end in the first 30 minutes of the final.

The Southgate side was the first to go. One manager change, replacing Saka with Kieran Trippier, paid off a quick assignment as Trippier ran into Kane’s right pass to find the winning Shaw in the distance, and he had slammed an emphatic finish past Donnarumma.

England was off and running, urged on by a raucous crowd. That they had this talented and streetwise Italian side on the back foot until they suddenly gained a foothold in the closing stages of the first half.

Italy took the lead, and it was no surprise when they regained their footing. Then they looked to the top winners as the Southgate team, full of early runners, got to work. Especially after losing the outstanding Declan Rice to injury.

Southgate, surprisingly, waited until extra time to introduce Jack Grealish. But, at the time, the game was locked in a penalty shootout, so it proved.

Sancho and Rashford entered the closing stages, presumably in preparation for penalties. But, sadly, Southgate, who has done so much right in Euro 2020, was the only step they missed as they both failed to hit the ball.

Pickford Saved Two Penalties

Pickford saved both penalties with heroics. But he was also left in tears after England’s fate was sealed.

In addition, Italy has crossed the finish line. Southgate and his players appeared frustrated as they received sympathetic applause from England fans. They arrived with high hopes but left Wembley with their dreams of a major cup shattered once more.

England came close in 2018, reaching the World Cup semi-finals in Moscow. But this defeat will be even more painful given how smoothly they advanced to the final. They also had a good chance of finally winning a second trophy in what was effectively a home tournament with its climax at Wembley.

They’ve made progress, but England has yet to clear the final hurdle.

Improving England offers Genuine hope

After defeating Germany, Ukraine, and Denmark, England’s loss will be felt in the aftermath.

Southgate must now consider whether his final approach, substitutions, and penalty-takers were correct. However, once the dust settles, England will be able to look back on all of its accomplishments.

England went one step further than it did previously in Russia. And Southgate now has a potent combination of youth and experience working with them to plan the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Saka has reached adulthood in a tournament where England has exciting youngsters like Sancho, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, and Jude Bellingham, augmented by Grealish.

Raheem Sterling had an outstanding campaign. Kane demonstrated his world-class talent, and John Stones and Maguire’s middle defense team was strong. Pickford also made an outstanding contribution to the goal.

Italy, the deserving Euro 2020 champions (Source: Al Jazeera)
Italy, the deserving Euro 2020 champions (Source: Al Jazeera)
This will not bring us comfort in the coming hours, as we have lost so much. But England can at least move forward with optimism.

Italy, the Deserving Winners

While the Italian players and staff celebrated in front of their ecstatic fans. Team manager Roberto Mancini was left to reflect on a job well done. Their 34th unbeaten game earned them the Euro 2020 title.

Mancini has successfully blended youth and experience. At the back, he can still rely on the two old horses of Juventus and Italy. Despite their 70s, Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are as strong as ever.

Italy demonstrated its interest by defeating Belgium and Spain in the knockout stage. And they didn’t freak out because Wembley Stadium was packed with England fans.

And it was all done after failing to win the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which was considered a national humiliation.

Italy has won Euro 2020 for the second time. This is a testament to Mancini’s and his players’ efforts.

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