Italy won the European championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties at the Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
In the final, England took the lead with a Luke Shaw strike in the 2nd minute, the quickest ever goal in the championship. While Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by England’s Bukayo Saka. Leonardo Bonucci scored the equaliser for Italy in the 67th minute. Donnarumma emerged as a national hero after a terrific campaign with Italy.
It was the third straight failure for England from the penalty spot in the shootout in front of its own fans at Wembley Stadium. England manager Gareth Southgate, who made a courageous decision by allowing three youngsters in Saka, Sancho, and Rashford to take the last three penalties, was disappointed. “I chose the takers, I’m unbelievably disappointed not to go one step further. We decided to make the changes at the end of the game, but we win or lose together as a team,” he told the reporters.
It was a joy for Italy coach Roberto Mancini’s men who completed a remarkable comeback after missing the World Cup berth in 2018. Four years ago, Italians plunged to the lowest moment of its football history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Presently, they have become the best team in Europe and on a national-record-34-match unbeaten run under the suave coach.
On the other hand, there was despair for England, who had waited 55 years for the Three Lions to enter a major final. It’s their latest heartbreak in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2012.