September 19, 2021

Euro-2021: on penalties, Italy deprives England of its dream of a trophy

Cruel outcome for England. In front of the English public, Italy deprived the Three Lions on Sunday July 11 of a trophy that has eluded them since 1966. La Nazionale was able to return to the match after conceding an early goal, then won on penalties to win Euro-2021 (1-1, 3-2 tab). Italy, which kicked off the competition on June 11, brought the trophy home a month later.

In the heart of Wembley, the atmosphere is high. The English fans, heated by hours spent partying in front of the enclosure and by a few incidents, are pushing to encourage the Three Lions in their quest for a first trophy since the World Cup at home, 55 years ago. Reluctant to fair play to achieve this, the Italian anthem is whistled.

Italy powerless in the first half

The English offer their supporters the opportunity to rejoice. Harry Kane takes down in midfield and throws Kieran Trippier right side. He takes his time to cross, taking advantage of a false call from Kyle Walker, and finally finds Luke Shaw, all alone at the far post. The full-back takes a half-volley and beats Gianluigi Donnarumma (2is, 1-0). It is the fastest goal ever scored in a Euro final.

Italy struggled in the first half of the half, starved of the ball and exposed on the flanks facing the climbs of Kieran Trippier and Luke Shaw. Crosses are multiplying from both sides that the Chiellini / Bonucci defense pushes back with difficulty.

Then, the Squadra Azzurra gradually regained its possession game, without creating chances. The Italians advance to run up against the English Iron Curtain without being able to attempt a shot. Two exceptions: a breakaway from Federico Chiesa concluded with a shot that misses, while Jordan Pickford is beaten (35is), and a volley from Ciro Immobile from a cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo blocked by John Stones (45is+1).

Upon returning from the locker room, Italy still takes a bit of heat on the first action. Raheem Sterling receives the ball in the opponent’s area and accelerates to slip between Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. The Englishman collapses but the referee does not call a penalty (47is). Three minutes later, Lorenzo Insigne brushes a free kick in the axis which touches the right skylight (50is).

Pickford bows to Bonucci

As the Italian tide rises, Pickford keeps his people afloat. He closes his angle perfectly in front of Insigne (57is). Then, he relaxes to his left to deflect Chiesa’s strike (62is).

He is still close to saving England from the equalizer by pushing a Marco Verratti header off the post from a corner. However, Leonardo Bonucci followed and concluded at close range (67is, 1-1).

Between the goal conceded and the injury of Chiesa, the meeting settles in a false rhythm, without frank action on both sides. Undoubtedly lacking thrills, a supporter even takes the opportunity to step onto the field and interrupt the game. The only warning before extra time: a dangerous Italian center given to Pickford from the chest by Kyle Walker (90is+3).

Eighth Euro extension

For the eighth time in this Euro – a record – the two teams must decide between themselves in an extra time. Sterling plants the first banderilla while escaping left side, but the captain Chiellini takes away the danger of a tackle full of authority. On the corner which follows, the ball fails in the feet of Kelvin Philips who takes his chance (97is). Italy is not to be outdone: Emerson escapes a tackle from Walker and crosses to Andrea Bellotti at the near post. Pickford Keeps the Danger Away (103is). He also repels a vicious free kick from Federico Bernardeschi at the start of the second part of extra time (107is).

After 30 minutes chopped by faults and cramps, Italy and England must decide on penalties. In preparation for the session, Gareth Southgate brings in Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho. Evil took him. The two men miss their strikes, just like Bukayo Saka, who entered the 70isminute. Two Donnarumma saves and a shot on the post are the misfortune of England. Italy is European champion for the second time in its history.

The motherland of the round ball finally thought to bring home a title, 55 years after the last acquired in the 1966 World Cup. But the band of Gordon Banks, Bobby Charlton and Geoffrey Hurst, scorer of the FRG at home, did not no successors have yet been found.