Euro 2020: Italy beats England on penalty kicks to win second Euro title

·4-min read

Italy has won Euro 2020.

Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties and England's Marcus Rashford hit the post on another as Italy won the penalty shootout 3-2. It's the country's first Euro title since 1968.

Sunday's final in London went into penalties when it was tied 1-1 after 120 minutes. Andrea Belotti missed a penalty for Italy and then Rashford kicked his penalty off the left post when he took his turn for England. 

Donnarumma saved England's fourth penalty kick by Jadon Sancho and put the tournament at the feet of Jorginho. But Italy's fifth penalty taker — the man who sent Italy to the final with a cheeky clincher against Spain — was saved by England's Jordan Pickford.

That meant Donnarumma needed to make a save again to end the game. And he stopped England's Bukayo Saka.

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Saka, Sancho and Rashford are three of England's young attacking stars. They have years to come as part of the country's national team. But it was a cruel way for England to lose in its first major tournament final since winning the 1966 World Cup.

Sancho and Rashford had hardly played in the game. They were brought on with minutes to spare in extra time for the purpose of taking a penalty. Saka didn't start and came on as a second-half sub in place of Kieran Trippier. 

Italy tied game in second half

Italy controlled the game in the second half after England took an early lead. Italy had the ball for two-thirds of the game and seemed to always be pressing the issue in the second half while chasing the game.

Luke Shaw scored the earliest goal in Euro final history when he knocked in a goal off the post and into the back of the net off a cross from the right. Shaw’s goal came in the second minute of the game and sent Wembley Stadium into a frenzy after fans were frenzied all day just to watch their team play in a tournament final.

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The game was tied by another defender in the 67th minute. Stalwart Leonardo Bonucci crashed into the area in front of goal to tip home a rebound after Pickford had made a save off the post.

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Each team had a couple of chances to end the game in regulation but didn't come especially close to ending it without another 30 minutes. Both Italy and England needed extra time in their semifinal wins to get to the final and Italy had the benefit of playing on Tuesday while England played on Wednesday. 

Italy needed penalty kicks to beat Spain while England avoided a shootout thanks to Harry Kane's penalty rebound in extra time against Denmark on Wednesday. Kane converted his penalty in the shootout on Sunday and so did defender Harry Maguire.

Maguire's kick put England up 2-1 in the shootout after Belotti's miss. But none of England's final three kicks went in. 

Both are early World Cup favorites

Could the final of Euro 2020 be a game we could see again in the late rounds of the 2022 World Cup? It's not a preposterous question. 

Both Italy and England should return a large portion of their teams in about 18 months. Italy may need to replace Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini at the back but the midfield and forward line should largely be the same in 18 months.

There may not be much change in England's squad either. Kyle Walker (31) and Kieran Trippier (30) were the only two starters who aren't in their 20s. And Sancho, Saka, and Rashford have a combined age of 63. 

Each team will be facing immense pressure, however. Especially England now that it's made a major final for the first time in generations. England fans were overzealous — to put it nicely — ahead of the game as ticketless fans stormed their way into the stadium ahead of kickoff. 

Shop Italian Euro 2020 championships shirts at BreakingT.
Shop Italian Euro 2020 championships shirts at BreakingT.

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