Italy won the European Championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday. The match finished 1-1 after extra time.
Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by Bukayo Saka, England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shooutout in front of its own fans at Wembley Stadium.
It was less than four years ago that the Italians 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.
England was playing in its first major final in 55 years. It’s the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.
England went ahead in the second minute when Luke Shaw scored the fastest goal in a European Championship final. Leonardo Bonucci equalized in the 67th.
Italy won the shoutout 3-2 after England’s final shot was blocked.
Italian player Jorge Luiz Frello Filho, known as Jorginho, missed the previous shot, blocked by English goalie Jordan Lee Pickford, sending the London crowd into frenzied cheering, but a first-time European championship for the host country wasn’t to be. Italy was already up 3-2, and the score remained.
As Covid-19 infection rates continue to rise across the U.K., more than 60,000 fans, most of them English, were allowed to watch the game at London’s Wembley stadium.
The game started quickly as England’s Luke Shaw scored just 2 minutes after kickoff — the earliest goal in a European Championship final. But Italy came out of halftime aggressive and tied things up when Leonardo Bonucci bundled the ball into England’s net after a goal-line scramble.
Players from both teams took a knee before the starting whistle to bring attention to racial injustice, which England players did before every game of the tournament. Minutes earlier, dozens of ticketless fans broke into the stadium, with stewards and police trying to hold back the rowdy crowd as they pushed through barriers.
Prince William, his wife, Kate, and their son Prince George attended the game, the first soccer final played by the England men’s team since 1966.
Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Golden Boot for his five goals and one assist at the tournament and Gianluigi Donnarumma was awarded the Player of the Tournament