Italy conquered Europe on Sunday, upsetting England on penalty kicks to capture Euro 2020. Here are three things we learned.
Football’s going to Rome after all.
Italy defeated England 3-2 in a penalty-kick shootout on Sunday, overcoming the home team at London’s Wembley Stadium after 120 thrilling and high-octane minutes.
The Azzurri prevailed despite going down after two minutes, climbing their way back into the match in the second half. It took goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s two saves in the shootout to help the Italians win.
Domenico Berardi, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy in the shootout to lift the team to victory.
Here are three things we learned from the Italy-England game.
Goalkeeping made the difference
In the end, it was individual brilliance that helped Italy win it. Donnarumma, who helped Italy beat Spain on penalties in the semifinals, put in a repeat performance in the shootout. He got beat early by Luke Shaw’s goal but he came up big in the biggest moments. Donnarumma was named the player of the tournament.
Jordan Pickford also put in a solid performance during the 120 minutes and in the shootout, but his kickers didn’t back him. In the end, it wasn’t enough.
What home-field advantage?
England’s futility at international level continues. They last won the World Cup in 1966 and that drought continues on. The 67,000 in the stadium (only 7,000 were Italian) cheered every Three Lions move but it wasn’t enough as the Italians created plenty of offense. And the penalty-kick curse continues on for England.
The London rain, especially in the first half, drowned out the Azzurri. But they mounted a comeback win. Being at home didn’t help this time.
Italian turnaround complete
The Azzurri took a 33-game unbeaten streak into this final, transforming themselves into one of the continent’s best team over the course of these Euros.
It was an amazing turnaround for a nation that didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Manager Roberto Mancini brought a strong work ethic into the squad with a focus on teamwork. The Italians looked sharp in the second half, playing an attacking brand of soccer that kept England flat-footed.
The Italians are now European champions for only the second time, adding the title to one they won back in 1968. Yes, it’s true: Italy are continental champions, a good omen ahead of next year’s World Cup.