UNITED KINGDOM: Italy defeated England in the final to clinch the European Championship for the first time since 1968. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two England penalties for a 3-2 shootout win. The two teams fought out a 1-1 extra-time draw at Wembley on Sunday.
The giant keeper saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit a post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci, and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians.
England’s left-back Luke Shaw gave England a dream start with a magnificent goal after two minutes. On the other hand, Italy who were not able to give a solid response in the first half, gradually took command as the hosts sat back and leveled through Bonucci after 67 minutes.
This was the first European Championship final since 1976 whose result was decided by a penalty shootout. The final match of 1976 was played between Czechoslovakia and West Germany.
England’s loss was a major heartbreak for the 67,000 Wembley crowd. This final was the first time when England reached a major final since they won the World Cup 55 years ago. Earlier, England had taken an early lead in their 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia before eventually being outplayed and beaten in extra time.
England’s well-drilled defense, which had conceded just one goal, via a Danish free-kick, in their six previous tournament games, held them at arm’s length. In the penalty shootout, England’s young guns failed to prove their mettle and Italy eventually took the glory.