England had never lost a competitive game at Wembley and they were hoping to continue that streak. They were hoping to mend 55 years of heartbreak. In their way stood Italy who last won the Euros in 1968. The Italians had been mightily impressive until their drab showing against Spain which they managed to win on penalties. Like most of Euro 2020, it was bound to be entertaining.
In only the second minute, England opened the scoring. The ball was worked out to the right and Kieran Trippier delivered a peach of a cross for Luke Shaw on the opposite side to finish. Italy 0-1 England. What a start! At 1 minute and 59 seconds, it is the fastest goal scored in the final of a European Championship. Moments later, the Manchester United wing-back brought down Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne’s free-kick sailed over. The Azzurri looked rattled and they were struggling to contain England’s wing-backs.
Jorginho took a knock and Bryan Cristante started warming up. It looked serious but he soldiered on. On 27, Insigne fired a wayward shot wide. At this point, Lorenzo Insigne has taken 16 shots this tournament for a combined xG of 1.1 (scored 2). England found a lot of Joy from long balls and Harry Kane won one in the air and set up Mason Mount who tried to reverse it for Raheem Sterling but it was intercepted. On 35, Federico Chiesa danced past Declan Rice before shooting wide with his left.
Another long ball found Shaw high up the pitch and Giovanni Di Lorenzo could not hinder him. His cross was cut out by Emerson Palmieri. Italy missed the thrust of Leandro Spinazzola. His connection with Insigne was very important for Italy in the opening games and while Emerson was trying his best, his impact was not as palpable. Di Lorenzo put in a fantastic cross and while Ciro Immobile connected with the shot, John Stones blocked it. The rebound was comfortable for Jordan Pickford. Italy brought the ball well enough into the final third but found it hard to create something meaningful. Ciro Immobile had been one of the worst players at EURO 2020 and his performance so far might have been one of the worst of the worst. He struggled to hold it up and/or make dangerous moves.
On the stroke of halftime, Leonardo Bonucci fired a shot wide. Half-time, Italy 0-1 England. The three lions dominated early proceedings but Italy started getting a hold of the game.
Bryan Cristante came one for the anonymous Nicolo Barella while Domenico Berardi replaced the ineffective Immobile. Insigne to false 9. Raheem Sterling wanted a penalty after he felt he was shielded too wildly by Bonucci but referee Bjorn Kuipers of the Netherlands did not believe his claim. Whatever Roberto Mancini said at halftime had worked. On 56, Chiesa drove towards the England goal and Insigne picked up the pieces of his cross and fired at Pickford. The angle was narrow and Pickford saved. On 62, he was called upon again as he had to dive low to keep Chiesa out. Two minutes later, John Stones forced Gianluigi Donnarumma to poke over from a Mason Mount corner.
Italy equalized on 67! Berardi’s corner is headed brilliantly by Verratti of all people. Pickford saves but Bonucci is on hand to fire into the goal. Italy 1-1 England. Game on! At 34 years and 71 days, Bonucci is the oldest player to score in a European Championship final. Chiesa was in the mood, his brilliant inverted cross led to the corner. England had dropped too deep and they were allowing Italy access to dangerous zones.
Italy easily dominated England now with Jorginho and Verratti running the show. Gareth Southgate took Trippier off and brought on Bukayo Saka and moments later, he introduced Jordan Henderson for the impressive Declan Rice. England matched Italy’s 433 formation. A terrific ball over the top from Bonucci a la Euro 2016 and Pickford came rushing forward to put off Berardi who fired over. Great chance for the Azzurri! Chiesa went on a slaloming run and was brought down by a combination of Trippier and Saka. He came off for Federico Bernadeschi in the 85th minute.
After 6 minutes of added time, Italy 1-1 England. Full time.
Kalvin Phillips volleyed a shot wide. Manuel Locatelli replaced Verratti and Andrea Belotti came on for Insigne. Jack Grealish finally came on for Mason Mount. A terrific Emerson cross was touched by Belotti but Pickford came up with a big save to keep the scores level. England forwards had not put a shot on target at this point. In fact, Harry Kane hadn’t touched the ball in Italy’s box. Bernadeschi struck a nice free-kick but it was easy for Pickford. His opposite number Donnarumma had to come off his line to punch an inverted cross away. With Italy missing a lot of their creative players, they dropped deep to protect their lead.
Alessandro Florenzi replaced Emerson with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford warming up. They replaced Henderson and Kyle Walker. Penalties!
Despite Jorginho’s miss, Rashford, Saka, and Sancho missed their penalties. Italy win Euro 2020 after a terrific tournament.