England’s hopes of ending a 55-year wait for a major trophy were left in tatters as Italy came from behind to win Euro 2020 following a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Wembley.
The Azzurri saw spot kicks from Andrea Belotti and Jorginho saved but Marcus Rashford hit the post and Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Jadon Sancho and the decisive kick from Bukayo Saka to lead Roberto Mancini’s men to a 3-2 triumph after the game had ended 1-1 following extra time.
Luke Shaw had got England off to a flyer when he coolly netted his first goal for his country with the quickest strike in European Championship history after just one minute and 56 seconds.
It was a goal straight off the training ground and fully justified Southgate’s decision to opt for a back three for the final as the returning Kieran Trippier crossed for his fellow wing back to arrive late and steer beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Luke Shaw, celebrating after scoring against Italy
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England’s use of their wide players was a key feature of their attack in the first 45 while their defence frustrated the Azzurri forwards and nullified their attempts to play through the lines.
However, Italy dominated possession and began to step it up after the interval. Federico Chiesa and Lorenzo Insigne emerged as a real threat and Jordan Pickford was forced into action to deny both before Mancini’s side deservedly levelled on 67 minutes.
England failed to deal with a right-wing corner and Leonardo Bonucci was on hand to sweep in the rebound after Pickford had tipped Marco Verratti’s header on to the post.
'They should hold their heads high' - Southgate immensely proud of players despite defeat
Both sides had half chances as the game went into extra time but there was no real drama until the shoot-out when England failed with three of their kicks to miss out on lifting the silverware in front of a largely home crowd.
It’s not coming home - England’s penalty heartache strikes again. There are so many chapters in England’s history where penalties have ended the hopes and dreams of the nation.
This was the furthest they have gone in a tournament and come unstuck by these means and it’s probably one of the most painful. There’s no doubt it will hurt for a long time and the decision to bring on Rashford and Sancho late on to take penalties didn’t pay off, even though it’s a tactic that shouldn’t necessarily be shelved in the future.
Once the dust settles there are still so many positives for England going forward. They have made great strides under Southgate and finishing as runners-up is a step up on the 2018 World Cup semi finals and puts them in good stead for the 2022 finals in Qatar.
England players console Saka after his miss
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Now is a time to support the likes of 19-year-old Saka, who has a huge future in the game and there will be no-one better than Southgate to help him deal with the disappointment given his woes as a player at Euro 96. It's sad times right now but overall it's been a successful Euros for this squad.
As for Italy, the unbeaten run stretches to 34 matches and Mancini deserves to bask in the glory of leading his country to their second ever European Championship title after taking charge following the failure to reach the World Cup in Russia three years ago.
'Luck owed me something' - Mancini on suffering heartbreak as a player
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marco Verratti (Italy). The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was key to Italy wrestling back control of the game after England’s bright start. He wasn’t on the pitch for the latter part of extra time but was instrumental in getting the dangerous Chiesa and Insigne into positions to hurt their opponents when they pegged the Three Lions back in the second half.
2’ - GOAL! – England 1-0 Italy. What a start! England break at pace. Trippier crosses from the right and finds Shaw, who arrives late to volley home past Donnarumma at his near post.
62’ – ITALY CHANCE! Chiesa lets fly from 20 yards but can't find a way past Pickford who flings himself low to his left to get a big hand on the ball.
67’ - GOAL! – England 1-1 Italy. Bonucci gobbles up the rebound after PIckford had made a fine save to keep out Verratti's header. It all came after England failed to deal with a flick-on from a right-wing corner.
'It is for them, it is for us' - Bonucci on bringing it home for Italian fans
73’ – ITALY CHANCE! Berardi races clear beyond Shaw to try and get on the end of a long, raking pass over the top but can only guide his volley on the run over the bar as Pickford came flying off his line.
97’ – ENGLAND CHANCE! A left-wing corner is headed into the path of Phillips who takes it down and rifles a 25-yard volley just wide of the far post.
SHOOT-OUT: PENALTY SAVED – ENGLAND 1-1 ITALY. Pickford dives to his left and keeps out Andrea Belotti’s low kick.
SHOOT-OUT: PENALTY MISSED – ENGLAND 2-2 ITALY. Rashford does a slow run up but then places his shot against the post with the keeper diving the opposite way.
WATCH - Triumphant Italy return home with trophy
SHOOT-OUT: PENALTY SAVED – ITALY 3-2 ENGLAND. Sancho’s shot is parried away by Donnarumma, who made a smart save to his left.
SHOOT-OUT: PENALTY SAVED – ITALY 3-2 ENGLAND. Jorginho steps up to win the Euros but Pickford is down to his right and keeps it out! Lifeline for England.
SHOOT-OUT: PENALTY SAVED – ITALY 3-2 ENGLAND. Saka sees his kick saved – and Italy are the winners of Euro 2020.
Donnarumma was Italy's penalty hero
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Italy have won their sixth major tournament title (4 World Cup, 2 EUROs); among European nations, only Germany (7) have won more.
Shaw's opener after one minute and 56 seconds was the quickest ever goal scored in the final of the European Championships, as well as his first ever for the England national team.
Italy scored 13 goals in the tournament, the highest tally for the Azzurri in a single edition between European Championship and World Cup.
Leonardo Bonucci (34 years and 71 days) became the oldest scorer in a EURO final, beating the previous record of Bernd Hölzenbein in 1976 (30 years and 103 days).
Italy have won their second European Championship trophy after 53 years from their first one (1968), the largest gap for a single side in the history of the competition.
England have won just 22 per cent (2/9) of their major tournament shootouts (World Cup/EUROs), the lowest ratio of any European nation to have been involved in three or more.