Conor Clancy Date: 12th July 2021 at 12:01am
Written by:

For the second straight game, Italy won a penalty shootout to see Gli Azzurri crowned as European Champions, beating England after a pulsating 120 minutes.

Having fallen behind early on, Italy showed great resistance to regroup and fight their way back into the match and, by the end, would have felt unlucky to have been taken to extra time and penalties.

But it wasn’t to matter in the end as, despite Andrea Belotti and Jorginho missing in the shootout, England missed three of their own to see Italy end the night as champions of Europe.

Italy couldn’t have had a worse start had they tried. Within two minutes, Gli Azzurri fell behind to an unlikely goalscorer in Luke Shaw.

’s Kieran Trippier was the surprise inclusion in the England XI and his cross from the right found the other full-back arriving unmarked after some poor defensive work from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and volleyed in at ’s near post.

Italy then struggled to calm themselves down and England were buoyed on by the seemingly above-capacity Wembley crowd.

It took half an hour for Roberto Mancini’s side to settle, with and Jorginho finally growing into the game and linking with Lorenzo Insigne in an attempt to carve something out.

But it was who shone brightest for Italy, particularly as the second half got underway. The Juventus forward was his usual direct self and was proving to be a handful for England, just as Raheem Sterling was on the other side of things.

It was no surprise then that Chiesa had a hand in started the move for the equaliser, having had a shot of his own well saved by Jordan Pickford. Chiesa drifted around and a cross of his was headed behind for a corner, from which Leonardo bundled in after Pickford had turned a shot onto the post.

Then Italy looked a different team, and more like the side that was seen prior to the final. Domenico Berardi did well after replacing Ciro Immobile, and had a chance that he turned just over at full-stretch and on the volley.

Nothing could separate the two sides for the rest of the 90 minutes, though, and so the game went on to extra time, but Gli Azzurri were robbed of Chiesa through injury and Insigne followed him off before extra time, leaving a front three of Andrea Belotti, Federico Bernardeschi and Berardi.

With nothing splitting them after 30 more minutes, the game went all the way to penalties. Andrea Belotti missed first, and Jorginho missed another for Italy, but Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed to see Italy crowned champions of Europe.