Italy have defeated England in the final of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, putting an end to what has been an exciting few weeks for England supporters.
This marked the first time in more than 50 years that England qualified for a major tournament final and the first time they reached the final of the Euros. Although fans will undoubtedly be disappointed not to see the team hold the Henri Delaunay Trophy aloft, they can still take pride in what has been a phenomenal run.
The teams faced each other at London’s Wembley Stadium in their first competitive game since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, back when Italy won 2-1 during the group stage.
England got the scoring started early in the second minute, when Luke Shaw hit a left footed shot that came off a cross from Kieran Trippier to put the home team up one to nothing. For the rest of the first half Italy possessed the ball with tight passing, but they were unable to break through England’s defense.
The second half saw Italy continue to put pressure on England. It would finally pay off with a scrappy goal when the ball ricocheted off the side of the post and Leonardo Bonucci scored to tie the game at one goal a piece. That would end the scoring during both the regular time and extras, as both sides could not find something special to seal the win. They would go to a penalty shootout to find out who would be the Euro champions.
In the penalty shootout Italy prevailed to secure the Euro Cup championship. Football did not come home… this time.
The tense final was attended by some 60,000 fans, for what was Italy’s third visit to Wembley during this year’s competition.
Italy beat Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in the group stages before going on to defeat Austria, Belgium and Spain.
Meanwhile, England defeated Croatia, the Czech Republic and drew against Scotland, before going on to earn victories against Germany, Ukraine and Denmark, raising spirits across the nation.
Prior to this game, the two teams had faced each other 27 times, with Italy having won 11 previous matches. A further eight clashes have ended in draws.
This was the third time the two sides had faced each other at the Euros, having previously played against each other in 1980 and 2012. Both these times proved to be victories for Italy, with the team winning 1-0 and 4-2 respectively.
Speaking with Sky News ahead of the game, England manager Gareth Southgate said:
Italy is an exceptional team and I think, without doubt, the two best teams in the tournament have made the final, and now it’s whoever performs well on the day.
Both teams will now turns their focus to next year’s World Cup, which is being held in Qatar.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]