No joy for England as Bonucci levels, Italy wins Euro 2020 shootout
London, Jul 11 (EFE).- Italy won the UEFA Euro 2020 tourney on Sunday in an exciting penalty shootout after Leonardo Bonucci pulled the team level at 1-1 following a lightning quick strike by Luke Shaw just as play commenced before 67,173 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
In the resulting shootout, it was Italian netminder Gianluigi Donnarumma who saved two English spot-kicks, becoming the hero of the competition, while Marcus Rashford missed on his key chance.
Manchester United’s Shaw hit on his shot-on-goal just 1 minute and 57 seconds into play for the fastest-ever tally in European Championship final history after Harry Kane sent the ball to wingback Kieran Trippier, who sent a beautiful crossing pass to the striker, who sank the sphere into the Italian net.
With the Three Lions out in front for the remainder of the first half, it looked like England might be heading toward the coveted and long-awaited title, although in first-half stoppage time Italy, who looked good the entire match, threatened to upend those dreams by firing two shots-on-goal that were relatively easy for John Stones to block and for goaltender Jordan Pickford to save.
Yet, Roberto Mancini’s Italian squad looked strong and wasn’t about to give up, continuing to dominate in terms of ball-possession and -handling.
At the 67-minute mark, it was Bonucci who got the Azzuri level after Marco Verratti tried a header from the corner that Pickford managed to tip against the post, whereupon Bonucci popped the rebound in at point-blank range.
As the minutes ticked by, the local fans at Wembley were on tenterhooks as Italy spent a great deal of time controlling the ball on the English side of the pitch, although they couldn’t get into position to manufacture the go-ahead tally.
With the score at 1-1 at the end of regulation, the match went into extra time, and – with no game-winner from either squad – eventually to a penalty shootout.
In the duel, Domenico Berardi got Italy up 1-0 when he got Pickford to break the wrong way, then Kane got England even, beating Donnarumma.
Pickford saved Italy’s next shot from Andrea Belotti, and Harry Maguire put England up 2-1 with a great shot that “rolled” along the interior top of the net.
Bonucci hit on his next shot for the 2-2, evidently throwing Pickford’s timing off with a jerky fake-out run up to the kick.
Marcus Rashford missed, hitting the outside of the post, on his attempt for England, but Federico Bernardeschi got Italy up 3-2 with a shot that didn’t waver a millimeter to left or right but went right up the middle and in.
Then, Donnarumma saved Jadon Sancho’s shot for the Three Lions, and Jorginho had his shot blocked by Pickford, and everything hinged on Bukayo Saka’s final attempt for Gareth Southgate’s squad, but Donnarumma was right on the money once again, saving the day for the Italians and securing the trophy.
The win is Italy’s second Eurocup trophy, the first coming in 1968. England, meanwhile, haunted by penalties throughout the match, has not won the title in 55 years.