The UEFA Euro Cup

Euro 2020 ended on 11th of July with Italy lifting the trophy at Wembley after beating England by 3-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time. June remained the month full of highs and lows, triumphs and despairs for many participants. Huge celebrations were elicited in Italy after beating England on penalty shootout to safe their second Euro Cup title while breaking the hearts of millions of English fans who had been excitedly encouraging their team since the tournament kicked off. Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two efforts from England as the Azzurri won a shootout 3-2 after the game finished 1-1 succeeding extra time. The gigantic goalkeeper saved from Jadon Sancho and, conclusively, Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians in the shootout.

Luke Shaw had given England a dream start with a splendid goal after two minutes but Italy, who offered almost nothing in reply in the first half, progressively took command and justifiably levelled through Bonucci after 67 minutes. Amazingly, since 1976 when Czechoslovakia won against West Germany, it was the first final decided on penalties. It was a great moment for Italy after they lost the final in 2000 and 2012. England, sent two players very late in extra time with penalties in mind missed their penalties, as did 19-year-old Saka, who could not sustain himself under the burden of taking the final kick. Italy, so far till now won five and lost six of their 10 main tournament shootouts, counting one win and one loss in World Cup finals, while England’s miserable record now reads seven losses from nine. The match data told the story as Italy had 66% control and 19 shots to England’s six and, until the shootout, Donnarumma hardly moved the ball.

Italy is now undefeated in 34 matches, featuring the spectacular turnaround fashioned by Coach Roberto Mancini who took over after the country’s embarrassing failure to be eligible for the 2018 World Cup. Mancini revealed that, “It was impossible even to think about this, but the guys were extraordinary. I don’t have words for them, this is a magnificent group. We were great, we conceded an early goal and had some problems but then we dominated.”

Once we have a look of the start of the game, England started it so well when Harry Kane spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier and he rapidly repaid coach Southgate’s confidence in recalling him by sending over a curling deep cross that Shaw met on the half volley to hammer inside the post for his first international goal. In six previous tournament games, England’s strong defence, which had allowed one goal, via a Denmark free kick, considered safe enough but the players in front slowly began to allow more and more ground. England briefly identified splendor in the shootout when Pickford saved from Belotti, and Kane and Harry Maguire put them 2-1 ahead. The keeper kept the hosts in it again when he saved from Jorginho, only for Donnarumma to have the final word when he blocked Saka’s weakly-struck shot. Unfortunately the end results were not favourable for England.

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