Gianluigi Donnarumma proved the hero when Italy declared the European Championship after beating England on penalties in the tournament final on Sunday.
In front of a mostly English crowd at Wembley Stadium, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper saved two penalties to give his country a huge advantage during the extra period. The decisive save came from 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, who failed to beat Donnarumma on England’s fifth and final penalty, giving Italy a 3-2 win.
After a Leonardo Bonucci goal in the 67th minute tied the game, a 1-1 impasse lasted the remaining 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra time. The result provides a thrilling penalty shootout that will be remembered for decades to come.
England took the lead early after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford threw Italy’s second penalty from Andrea Belotti. England defender Harry McGuire followed his teammate’s save with a confident attack to give the Three Lions a 2-1 lead.
But that would be the last penalty England would travel. Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who were both brought in as substitutes just before a final whistle in overtime, each missed their attempts. Rashford’s shot went just wide of the post, while Sancho was able to push the ball past Donnarumma’s left.
The latest save from Saka allowed Italy to extend its undefeated international run of 34 games in a row. The loss of England is marked the fourth time the country lost on penalties in the history of the European Championship.
A sack failed #Donnarumma. WE DO IT !!!! 🙌
– Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@azzurri) July 11, 2021
What an incredible penalty shootout. Coarse for England. So many years of waiting. So close.
Congratulations to Italy for the comeback victory.
– Lex Fridman (@lexfridman) July 11, 2021
We all knew if it came to penalties it would #ITA. Donnarumma> Pickford.
– 𝗥𝗶𝗱𝘇𝘂𝗮𝗻 (@ayshardzn) July 11, 2021
You are hero and you made the country proud.
– Karl C. Pupé (@actionherotech) July 11, 2021
Top high Saka euros brilliant 💪🏿❤️ penalties are your casino turned stronger boy
– Harvey (@Harveyofficial) July 11, 2021
England and penalties ….. you would think the tide has turned …
– Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 11, 2021
England have now lost more shoot-out penalties (4) than any other country in European championship history.
The curse did not arise. 😔 pic.twitter.com/K79oNMMMCH
– Squawka football (@Squawka) July 11, 2021
The victory for Italy marked a complete turning point after missing out on the World Cup a few years ago in 2018. It wasn’t a small feat to make it to the final after the country went to a much-loved Belgian team in quarters -final, before beating Spain in the quarterfinals. penalty kicks in the semi-final.
On the other hand, the defeat means a complete anguish for England. The host nation could not do the job in front of a hooligan crowd and still has not won an international tournament since 1966.
All in all, the European Championship exceeds expectations with exciting gameplay and captivating storyline. The countdown to the 2022 World Cup begins now.