Italy 1-1 England, aet (3-2 on pens): It went to Rome... not home - Euro 2020 (Match highlights)
|Italy are the champions of Europe, beating England 3-2 on penalties right in front of the English fans at Wembley. (Photo credit: UEFA.com)|
Everywhere you turn in England is bitter, in pains and bleeding with reckless abandon, they won’t get the bank holiday, they won’t have something to brag about and the 55 years of hurt continues, but what were they expecting?
Bukayo Saka was handed the fifth penalty, was Gareth Southgate looking for a scapegoat or he had so much trust in the teenager?
The utterly defensive line up that limited creativity was strategic enough to neutralize the eventual champions?
Italy and England went into the final having avoided defeat throughout the tournament and both went into the final with a story, Italy hadn’t won the competition since hosting it in 1968 and have lost two previous finals, England had never tasted the finals of the tournament, they both wanted it.
The lineup from Italy was expected, but England coach Gareth Southgate failed to exploit the weaknesses in the legs of the two centre backs of the Azzurris, naming a three-man defence with Kieran Trippier coming in for Saka.
It paid a temporary dividend as Luke Shaw was fed by the Atletico Madrid man and it was 1-0 as early as the opening two minutes.
It felt like a masterstroke, Southgate punched the air, Harry Kane rode the green grass behind the sliding Manchester United defender, all was well with the Queen.
Italy settled into the game and had Federico Chiesa marauding the English defence, it was inevitable that the Italians will score, it was only a matter of when.
The second half saw a massive dominance of the Italians, Leonardo Bonucci bundled home from a set-piece and you could almost feel it falling apart against the Three Lions.
One would argue that had Chiesa been on for the extra time, it would easily have been won before the penalties.
England lacked the balls, Georgio Chiellini showed why Southgate bottled it at the tail end of regulation time when he physically clawed down Saka, after the Arsenal winger outpaced him, more of that would have troubled the ageing Italians but Southgate didn’t see it.
It went to penalties and the first advantage went to England, Jordan Pickford saved from Andrea Bellotti but the two-player Southgate brought on solely for penalty reasons missed – Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho fluffed it from six yards and advantage went to Italy again.
Once again it was back in the balance, arguably the number one penalty taker in the world, Jorginho failed to beat Pickford with his strategy and 19-year-old Saka stepped up to draw England level, he missed and the hurt continues.
There’s so much to learn from this tournament, one of them is the fact that the conservatism of Southgate cost England the title, but with rumours of a new contract for the former Middlesbrough man, it just might not come home soon.
Man of the Match: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
🎯 Great distribution throughout— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 11, 2021
💪 Strong defensive display at 34
⚽️ Scored the all-important equaliser
🇮🇹 Italy hero Leonardo Bonucci = Star of the Match! 🥇
🤔 Did you predict that?@Heineken | #EUROSOTM | #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/zNdJbntUiE