The hero of the game was Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who stopped two penalties during the shootout. He erased the mistakes of his teammates Andrea Belotti and Jorginho, who missed their chances to score from the spot.
English team took the lead right away, after less than two minutes of play. A lightning counter-attack with Kiernan Trippier leading the way on the right side, and sending a perfect long cross to Luke Shaw, who was on the far post, ended with Shaw’s volley and a spectacular goal.
Instead of continuing in the same manner and using the momentum generated after the fastest ever goal in the EURO finals, England stopped and began defending. That gave time to the Italians to regroup and take the initiative, which turned out to be a massive mistake.
Italy was slowly cracking the English defense, until netting in the equalizer in the 67th minute. Juventus’ defender, Leonardo Bonucci, reached the ball into the box two feet away from the goal line and tapped it behind the goal line.
The Italians wanted to attack and solve the game during the regular 90 minutes, but they lost Federico Chiesa, their best player, who picked up an injury, having to go out. After that, Mancini decided not to take any chances but slow down.
Marcus Rashford and Jaydon Sancho were brought in particularly because of the penalties, and these two guys missed both. Bukayo Saka missed the last one, which determined the winner, with the note that Rashford hit the post, and Donnarumma stopped the other two.
For the first time since 1968, the Italians have lifted the trophy of the continental champions. This is a huge success for this team and a crown of one magnificent stretch that still extends, which is 34 straight matches without a defeat.
All this is because of Roberto Mancini, the experienced and decorated head coach who reorganized the entire national team from top to bottom. Italy didn’t lose for 34 matches, plays fantastic football, with lots of running and attacking, and was the best offense at EURO 2020 with 13 goals scored.
As for England, this defeat is going to hurt for a long time. They had everything in their hands, a lead, a home-court advantage, good players. Still, it wasn’t enough to win the silverware.