Italy recreated history as they became the first team to win consecutive penalty shootouts as they defeated England 3-2 in the penalties to secure their second European Championship trophy.
Italy had been the force to consider throughout the tournament and one of the favourites coming to this edition of European Championships, and now have lived up to their reputation, etching their names in the pages of history.
The match between Italy and England was definitely a hard boiled and bitterly contested one, with both teams matching each other on equal footing right from the kick-off. It was ought to happen, with two of the best teams fighting it out in the finals for the ultimate glory.
Italy trumps England 3-2 in penalties at Wembley to lift their second European trophy after a long draught of 55 years
England looked a bit more composed on the ball and dominated the possession early on. The match was off to a rollicking start as England went ahead inside three minutes of the game with a sublime first time finish from Luke Shaw. It was also the fastest goals in any European final till now, and gave a huge boost to the Three Lions early on.
Kieran Trippier, who came in for Bukayo Saka for the final, found out out Luke Shaw with a perfectly taken cross at the far post and Shaw made no mistake in tucking it home with his weaker left foot after a darting room at the far post. England and Wembley were already up in early celebrations as England gained the upper hand in the match.
Italy pushed forward in numbers following the early setback, and created some good chances through the likes of Chiesa and Insigne, but couldn’t find the equaliser untill the 67th minute.
Italy came back strongly in the game after their concession and gave tough time to the Three Lions there after. They eventually found the equaliser in the 67th minute, when Leonardo Bonucci scored form close range to bring them back level in the game.
Lorenzo Insigne delivered a threateningly curling ball into the penalty region from a corner, which was met at the far post by midfielder Veratti, who headed it to the bottom corner. Pickford did enough stop to deny his header initially but the ball fell sweetly for a lurking Bonucci, who poked it into the back of the net, with the Azzurris reassuring their dominance in the final game of the EURO 2020.
The match ultimately went into the penalties with both times unable to find the decisive goal in the remaining minutes of normal time and extra time.
Both Italy and England scored their opening penalties through Berardi and Kane but things started to take a sharp turn them onwards and got more enticing and entertaining.
Andrea Belotti saw his penalty saved brilliantly by Pickford, and England took the upper hand when Harry Maguire slotted it home coolly, and it seemed as if England will now go onto lift the trophy.
The equation turned on its head and was back level when Marcus Rashford saw his penalty struck the bar and Bonucci scoring his as the scores became level at 2-2 in penalties.
Both teams saw their next penalties saved, with Jadon Sancho and Jorginho having their penalties saved by Donnarumma and Pickford respectively, as the game swayed one way to the other every moment.
Federico Bernardeschi converted his penalty and youngster Bukayo Saka saw his penalty being saved brilliantly by Donnarumma, as the Azzurri bench erupted in celebration, lifting their second European Championship after a gap of 55 years.
Gianluigi Donnarumma was awarded the Player of the Tournament award for his heroics throughout the tournament and coming up big in back to back penalty shootouts and is also the first goalkeeper to win this award at the Euros.
Italy have finally completed their resurrection under Roberto Mancini and are deservedly the reigning Champions of Europe for the next three years.
Also read: Top Five Best Players of Euro 2020