The trophy reserved for the European Championship winner isn’t “coming home” after all. Instead, it was headed to Rome after Italy got a penalty shootout win over England in EURO 2020 finals.
England, who has never won a European Championship and has a lone World Cup trophy from 1966, entered the EURO 2020 finals as overwhelming favorites. The team managed by Gareth Southgate was considered to have a far more talented squad than Italy while also playing in front of the home crowd and conceding just one goal in the entire tournament.
Italy, on the other hand, was looking for redemption after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Manager Roberto Mancini fielded a team comprised out of young stars and season veterans, hoping to bring his country its second European Championship trophy and sixth overall, counting the previous four World Cup wins.
England managed to open the scoring early on when Manchester United’s full-back Luke Shaw used a great cross from Kieran Trippier to put the ball behind Italy’s goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma. The goal came at 01:56, making it the fastest goal ever scored in the EURO finals.
It looked like England would dominate the game after this, but it wasn’t long before Italy found its footing. The Italians took over the possession and were the better squad late in the first half. This trend continued in the second half, and their persistence paid off when Leonardo Bonucci scored an equalizer after a scramble in the penalty box. The Juventus defender became the oldest player to score in the EURO finals with this goal.
Italy had several more chances to complete the comeback but failed to convert them. This took the game to extra time, where both teams looked like they would be content to determine the contest via penalty shootout.
England had the lead after the first two series, converting both penalties and seeing Italy split theirs. Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi then scored for Italy while Donnarumma saved the kick from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford missed his by hitting the right post.
Jorginho had the opportunity to seal the win as the last penalty taker for Italy but sent his kick into the post and left the door open for England. Still, Donnarumma managed to negate Jorginho’s mistake by saving Bukayo Saka’s penalty and kickstarting a huge celebration for Italy.
“The guys were extraordinary. I don’t have words for them; this is a magnificent group. There were no easy games, and this one became very difficult, but then we dominated,” said Italy manager Roberto Mancini after the match.
“You need a bit of luck with penalties, and I’m a little sorry for England. This team has grown so much, I think it can still improve. We are so happy for all.”