Italy won the European Championship for the first time since 1968 as goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two penalties to end England’s dream of their first-ever Euro. The regular time ended in 1-1 after extra time at Wembley Stadium then went into a penalty shootout, with England missing three penalties to make it 3-2. It was the first shootout in a Euro final since 1976.
“It was impossible even to just consider this at one stage,” coach Roberto Mancini said, “but the guys were just amazing. I have no words for them.” This is Italy’s second European title after 1968 and first major title since the 2006 World Cup win. This was their second final in the last three Euro editions. The Azzuri are now 34-matches unbeaten which goes back to September 2018.
Both sides had fought out a 1-1 extra-time draw in front of over 60,000 fans in Wembley. Luke Shaw’s goal inside the opening two minutes gave England a lead before Leonardo Bonucci equalized it midway through the second half. As a result, 30 minutes of extra time was played. During the shootout, The Italian keeper saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post
Meanwhile, Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians to seal their win. It was the first final to be decided on penalties since Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in 1976. England has remained without a major trophy since 1966. It is also the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.
Celebrations erupted in downtown Rome as thousands of people took to the streets despite the threat of COVID-19 infection. Fireworks lit the sky, cars honked non-stop with ecstatic fans waving Italian flags at the Piazza del Popolo where they had watched the match on big screens. They chanted “we are champions of Europe,” danced in the streets and set off flares as police stood watch nearby.
Prince William has congratulated Italy after the team won the European Championship and says England’s players should be “so proud” of themselves for their efforts. William is the president of the English Football Association. He wrote on Twitter “Heartbreaking. Congratulations @Azzurri on a great victory.” He says to England “sadly this time it wasn’t our day. You can all hold your heads high.”
Italy has earned 34 million euros ($40.4 million) in prize money from UEFA’s tournament record fund of 371 million euros ($440 million) for winning this year’s European Championship. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has finished as the top scorer at the European Championship with five goals., while Gianluigi Donnarumma became the first goalkeeper to win player of the tournament at the Euro.
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