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Italy crowned champions of Euro 2020 after beating England on penalties

Mancini and co. lifting the Euro 2020 trophy

Italy defeated England on penalties in the 2020 UEFA European Championship final to lift the prestigious continental trophy after losing the Euro 200 final and the Euro 2012 final as well.

Luke Shaw opened the scoring on the night in the 2nd minute of the final but experienced defender Leonardo Bonucci pulled his nation back into the fight with a 67th-minute goal. The match ended 1-1 after extra time and the trio of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka missed their penalties as England missed out on lifting a major international trophy after a wait of 55 years.

Italy manager Roberto Mancini fielded the same group of players that defeated Spain on penalties in their semi-final clash a few days back whilst England manager Gareth Southgate made one change to his side from the 2-1 win over Denmark with Kieran Trippier coming in for the teenage winger Saka.

The Three Lions had a dream start to their first major final after a gap of 55 years as Atletico Madrid’s Trippier setting up Shaw with a wonderful cross and the Manchester United left-back slotted the ball past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give his nation an early lead.

With his maiden goal for England, Shaw broke the record for the fastest goal in a European Championship final as he had the ball in the back of the net after only 117 seconds on the clock.

England players celebrate the goal by Luke Shaw

England players celebrate the goal by Luke Shaw

After the goal, it was all Italy as Southgate’s team sat back and camped in their own half to preserve their slender lead. Neither team could muster an opening till the half-time break as Federico Chiesa’s solo run ended with a shot that just fizzed wide off the post wasting Italy’s best chance in the first 45 minutes.

The second half started with Raheem Sterling going to the ground in the penalty area but the referee waved off the protests from the players and the crowd alike. Before the clock hit the hour mark, Lorenzo Insigne hit a free-kick off target from 20 yards spurning a golden chance for a comeback.

In the 67th minute, an Italy corner wasn’t cleared out by the English defense and they paid the price as Bonucci was on hand to slot the ball home equalizing on the night.

The goal by the Juventus man kicked the match into life as both sides played with intent for the rest of the time but could not find the back of the net. Jorginho luckily avoided a red card for a late challenge on England substitute Jack Grealish and the battle of the two giants of European football could not find a winner in 120 minutes.

Italian substitute Dominico Berardi stepped up to take the first penalty and gave his nation an early lead in the nervy shootout. England skipper Harry Kane stepped up to take England’s first penalty and shot it straight into the bottom corner giving the English fans a glimmer of hope on the night.

Another of Italy’s substitutes, Andrea Belloti saw his penalty saved by Jordan Pickford after his superbly taken spot-kick in the semi-final shootout against Spain. Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire stepped up next for England and gave them the lead with a kick that broke the camera on the top-right corner of the net.

Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored the next two penalties for Italy whilst Rashford hit the post with a cleverly taken spot-kick. Sancho, Jorginho, and Saka all saw their penalties saved as the mighty Azzurri lifted the trophy after winning a second successive penalty shootout.

By winning the Euro 2020 final, Italy is now undefeated in 38 international matches since September 2018 with Roberto Mancini inspiring the Azzurri to a miraculous comeback after missing out on qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Goalscorer Bonucci bagged the ‘Man of the Match’ award in the final of the tournament whilst goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma won the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award. Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo and the Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick shared the ‘Golden Boot’ award with Barcelona teenage midfielder Pedri bagging the ‘Young Player of the Tournament’.