A day filled with chants, and unforgettable silence
Italian soccer’s redemption story is complete and England’s half-century wait for a major title continues. And that happened because of a penalty shootout. Italy won the European Championship Euro 2020 for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday.
The match finished 1-1 after extra time at Wembley Stadium, which was filled mostly with English fans hoping to celebrate the team’s first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
Rome finally got it!
For England, it was utter disappointment again, since they know the feeling when it comes to penalties. After Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy‘s imposing goalkeeper dived to his left and saved the decisive spot-kick by 19-year-old Londoner Bukayo Saka, one of the youngest players in England’s squad.
That was England’s third straight fail from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho — players brought on late in extra time seemingly as specialist penalty-takers — also missing. As Saka and Sancho cried, Donnarumma was mobbed by his teammates as they sprinted toward him from the halfway line at the end of the second penalty shootout in a European Championship final.
Times have changed for Italy!
It was less than four years ago when Italy plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach who has won an international trophy in his first attempt to add to the country’s other European title — in 1968 — and its four World Cups.
Mancini joined his players on the podium as Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini lifted the Henri Delaunay trophy to the backdrop of fireworks.
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Mancini said, “It was impossible even to just consider this at one stage, but the guys were just amazing. I have no words for them.”
It was Luke Shaw’s first goal for England and it prompted a fist-pump between David Beckham and Tom Cruise in the VIP box amid an explosion of joy around Wembley, which had at least 67,000 fans inside. That was the only time Italy’s defense was really opened up in the entire 120 minutes. Indeed, after Shaw’s goal, England barely saw the ball for the rest of the game.
The misery continues for England
For England, the heartache continues at major tournaments – especially for the shootouts – after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2012. They ended that losing streak by beating Colombia on penalties in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, but the pain has quickly returned.
England captain Harry Kane said, “The boys couldn’t have given more, penalties are the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It’s been a fantastic tournament we should be proud, hold our heads up high. It’s going to hurt now, it’s going to hurt for a while.”
But for now, CONGRATULATIONS ITALY!!
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