An exciting month of international European football is behind us. The European Championship 2020 played with a full palette of emotions inherent in sports of the highest rank, but, like any other event, sooner or later, it had to come to its logical conclusion. There is no direct battle for third place in the tournament grid of this forum; therefore, with the Henri Delaunay Cup, only one team could end up on the podium. But who among the representatives of the national teams of Italy and England should have been awarded such a high title? The reporting game at Wembley was intended to answer this question.
The teams of Roberto Mancini and Gareth Southgate did not misfire on their way through Euro 2020. At the group stage, both of these teams managed to get by without defeats, and Italy did not allow any points to be lost. At the same time, the enterprising team of the "three lions" perfectly calculated the tournament grid in such a way that in the end, only one match was played outside the borders of their native Wembley.
Unfortunately, the game in Rome against the Ukrainian national team turned out to be the most productive for them on the way to the final (4: 0). And already at the semi-final stage, "Squadra Azzurra" and the representatives of the British Isles suffered in the games against Spain and Denmark, respectively, after which they began to prepare for the decisive game. Here are just England and "did not report" their streak without conceding a handsome goal from a free-kick from Mikkel Damsgaard.
The spectacular closing ceremony of the European Championship 2020 was replaced by an equally spectacular "English opening ceremony" of the final match. The defense of Italy collapsed already at the first quick attack of the opponents, which occurred in the second minute, and from the filing from the right corner of the penalty area performed by Kieran Trippier, the ball on the far post hammered Luke Shaw into the goal. These were exciting moments for England, but everyone understood perfectly what the tactics of the Southgate team would be in the future in the course of the fight.
Roberto Mancini's team spent a lot of time controlling the ball in any part of the football field, but not directly in front of someone else's penalty area. Consequently, "Squadra Azzurra" had not so many chances to respond to a quick conceded ball. It was possible to recall, perhaps, Chiesa's attempt to complete the solo in the right semi-flank of the attack with a kick under the right post, but the ball went wide of the goal, although Pickford would not have reacted to him in any way. Italy beat the opponents statistically in the first half, but they were not displayed on the Wembley scoreboard.
In the second half, the nominal home team had no other option but to continue to impose their football on someone else's half of the field, which they started from the very first minutes of the second half. Mancini did not rush to make replacements since none of his team members fell out of the general pattern of the game. However, it was not possible to take the rivals on a swoop, so the head coach of Squadra Azzurra started the flywheel of his replacements closer to the end of a full hour of playing time. Cristante was supposed to stabilize the support zone, while Berardi went on the attack instead of Immobile and became only a continuation of Chiro's shadow in the future.
Whatever it was, but the pressure of Italy grew every minute, reaching a critical mark at the 67th revolution of the second hand. Who would have thought, but a corner from the right flank caused a real panic in goalkeeper England, and if Pickford managed to cope with a header from Verratti at the far post, then no one could block the finishing off from Bonucci. Italy leveled the score and then took the overtime match away in a tense manner.
Southgate's team showed signs of life in their attacking line before the end of regular time and in some parts of the extra halves, but their opponents controlled their overall course, so the "Three Lions" had to come to terms with the need to take a penalty.
Berardi and Kane showed an example to their partners, but already with Belotti's attempt, the players started having problems Pickford parried. He was followed by Bonucci and Maguire with successful shots, after which Rashford hit the base of the left post, Bernardeschi converted, and Donnarumma then coped with Sancho's shot. It would seem that it is possible to finish, but Pickford parried Jorginho's kick to the right post, and then Then Saka shot into the right corner, and Donnarumma became the best player in the tournament!
Thus, from now on, the Italian national team will be considered the newly-made European champion. England stumbled a step away from the Henri Delaunay Cup, doing it in front of their fans. It's coming to Rome! Italy England 1: 1 (3: 2 pens)
Goals: Bonucci, 67 Shaw, 3.
Italy: Donnarumma Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson (Florenzi, 117) Barella (Cristante, 54), Jorginho, Verratti Chiesa (Bernardeschi, 85), Immobile (Berardi, 55), Insigne (Belotti, 91).
England: Pickford - Walker (Sancho, 120), Stones, Maguire - Trippier (Saka, 70), Phillips, Rice (Henderson, 74, Rashford, 120), Shaw Mount (Grilish, 99), Sterling Kane.
Warnings: Barella, Bonucci, Insigne, Chiellini - Maguire