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UEFA Euro 2020 final: Italy edges out England in penalties to win 2nd European title

It was Italy’s second UEFA Euro title win after it won the 1968 edition. England’s wait for the same continues, having finished as the runner-up for the first time.

UEFA Euro 2020 final: Italy edges out England in penalties to win 2nd European title-ayh
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London, First Published Jul 12, 2021, 11:42 AM IST
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In what turned out to be the ultimate finale of the 2020 UEFA Euro, Italy maintained its unbeaten run to tame England at the Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday. It was Italy’s second European title, while England’s wait for the same continues, having finished as the runner-up for the first time. Meanwhile, here’s how things panned out.

First half
The opening half saw England press full throttle, as it took the side just a couple of minutes since the start for Luke Shaw to fire in Kieran Trippier’s assist from the left flank with a powerful left-footer and take the opening lead. It was followed up with three more attacks, with the host being more threatening, as it created more chances. However, all the attempts went pegging, as The Three Lions managed to hold on to the slender lead at half-time.

Second half
The following half saw seven more encouraging attempts as Italy stepped up its ante with six attacks. While one of its attempts to equalise was denied by English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma too denied England its chance to double the lead.

Meanwhile, in the 67th minute, Leonardo Bonucci levelled it after Marco Verratti’s header attempt was denied by Pickford, only to rebound off the post and fall to Bonucci. While a couple of more attacks followed, it was to no avail as things moved into extra time.

Extra time
The first half of the extra time saw England pull off a couple of great attempts, but none were promising enough to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, in the following half, there was only an optimistic attempt made by Italy, only to be denied by Pickford again, as it had to be penalties to settle it all.

Shootout
After the opening attempts from both sides were converted, Italy’s Andrea Belotti was the first to miss. Nevertheless, Marcus Rashford’s missed chance allowed things to level.

While Jadon Sancho missed the following one, it was followed by Italy’s missed chance from Jorginho. When it came to the penultimate strike for England, Donnarumma heroically saved Bukayo Saka’s shot to hand Italy the title.

Reactions
Harry Kane:
“I couldn’t have given more. The boys couldn’t have given more. Penalties is the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It wasn’t our night, but it’s been a fantastic tournament and we should hold our heads high.”

Gareth Southgate: “In terms of the penalties, that’s my call. It totally rests with me. I decided on the penalty takers based on what they’ve done in training, and nobody is on their own. We won together as a team, and it’s on all of us for not being able to win the game tonight.”

Bonucci: “A historic goal is a dream come true and the credit goes to the coach, the whole squad. When we got together in Sardinia, there was something different compared to the past. We slowly gained confidence, certainty, unity. This was the icing on the cake that makes us legends.”

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