England’s wait for a major international trophy win continues following a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy at Euro 2020.
Italy Win on Penalties As English Wait For Trophy Continues
Penalty Shoot-Out Defeat Breaks English Hearts
Luke Shaw provided England with the best possible start when he volleyed home Kieran Trippier’s pin-point cross inside just two minutes.
From then the Three Lions never looked back and displayed composure and resilience at both ends of the pitch.
Italy came closest when Federico Chiesa sent a stinging effort a yard past Jordan Pickford’s post but Gareth Southgate’s side always looked the more confident outfit in a positive first half.
Having come close on multiple occasions in the second half, Italy had a goal to show for their efforts on 66 minutes when Federico Bonucci lashed home an uncleared corner to light up the fixture.
After a nail-biting extra-time, it was penalties that would decide England’s fate. Jordan Pickford produced a fine save to stop the reliant Jorginho from scoring after substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho both failed to score.
But it was the Italians left celebrating at Wembley as Bukayo Saka had his tame penalty saved to cause heartbreak once again for the English players and supporters.
Early Goal Sets High Tempo as England Dominate Opening Stages
Gareth Southgate made one change to the team that defeated Denmark in the semi-finals on Wednesday night.
Bukayo Saka, who provided the assist for the equaliser, fell out the starting eleven as Southgate brought in Trippier as part of a five-man defensive line.
The hosts, buoyed on by a majority England crowd at Wembley, enjoyed the perfect start inside the first two minutes.
With Trippier driving down the right-wing, the Atletico Madrid full-back picked out Shaw at the far-post who volleyed beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma from close range.
England started the brightest as their early goal inspired them in their search for a second. Sterling’s speed and agility looked to cause problems for the Italians as he went twisting and turning in attack, whilst Kyler Walker and Trippier linked up well to force England forwards on the right flank.
Italy have become accustomed as gladiators in attack with their adventurous style of play executed by Jorginho and Marco Verratti, but the Azzuri were left frustrated continuously as a resolute English defensive line stood firm.
After signs of early dominance from England the game began to open up. The Three Lions came close on 34 minutes when Harry Kane’s header down allowed Mason Mount to play a quick one-two; the latter had the ball hastily cleared from his grasp as he was about to strike.
Moments later Italy had a chance of their own as Chiesa shrugged off Declan Rice’s challenge to bare down on goal, but his fierce drive arrowed narrowly past the post.
Bonucci looked to level the scores seconds before the interval with an audacious long-range strike which flew harmlessly wide of Jordan Pickford’s goal
Italy Peg England Back as Bonucci Levels Tie
England felt they could have had a penalty when Sterling went down inside the penalty area early in the second half, but Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers waved away the Three Lions’ half-hearted appeals.
It could have been at England’s expense when moments later Sterling brought down an Italian forward just outside the box; Pickford could stand and watch as Lorenzo Insigne’s freekick curled just over the crossbar.
Roberto Mancini looked to spark energy into his Italy team with the introduction of Domenico Berardi and Bryan Cristante in place of Ciro Immobile and the already carded Nicolo Barella.
The changes almost led to an immediate impact when Insigne found space in the six-yard box but Pickford’s reflex save denied the Napoli forward.
Italy surpassed the hour-mark enjoying a spell of pressure over the opponents and almost had a goal to show for their effort when Chiesa’s deft touch beat Stones and Walker. The Juventus right-winger’s low strike had England fans hold their breath all over the country but Pickford produced a strong hand to palm the chance away.
But the English defence were not able to deny Italy a goal as England failed to clear their lines from a corner on 66 minutes. Pickford got a hand out to push the ball against the post, but he was unable to react and stop the follow-up from Bonucci.
In response to the goal Southgate made two changes as Bukayo Saka and Jordan Henderson replaced the tiring Trippier and Declan Rice.
The Italians almost had another when a long ball forward had Berardi racing away from Shaw. He was unable to keep his show low though as he struck well over the crossbar.
England went in search for a late winner in normal time when Mason Mount pulled the ball back to Saka, but the young Arsenal winger could not untwist his legs and get a shot away.
Mancini was forced into a third substitution when Chiesa sustained a knock under pressure from Walker, John Stones and Kalvin Phillips. He was replaced by Federico Bernadeschi as Italy prepared for extra time.
Level Extra-Time Results in Spot Kicks
Bernadeschi tested Pickford’s reactions in the second half of extra time with a freekick from distance, but it was well dealt with by the England shot-stopper.
Neither side were able to make a breakthrough in extra time, however, as England went head to head with their arch nemesis. Penalties.
Just like the 120 minutes beforehand, the penalties were an emotional rollercoaster. Harry Maguire put the Three Lions ahead after Andrea Belotti missed his penalty.
Substituted on with a minute of extra time to go, Marcus Rashford’s spot-kick struck the post and Jadon Sancho’s effort was saved.
Pickford gave England a lifeline when he saved Jorginho’s penalty but the pressure was too great for Arsenal teenage winger Saka who could only watch as his strike was saved.
England: Pickford, Shaw, Maguire, Stones, Walker (119, Sancho), Trippier (70, Saka), Rice (74, Henderson) (119, Rashford), Phillips, Sterling, Kane, Mount (99, Grealish).
Unused Subs: Bellingham, Calvert-Lewin, Coady, James, Johnstone (GK), Mings, Ramsdale (GK).
Italy: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson (118, Florenzi), Barella (54, Cristante), Jorginho, Verratti (95, Locatelli), Chiesa (85, Bernadeschi), Immobile (54, Berardi), Insigne (90, Belotti).
Unused Subs: Acerbi, Bastoni, Meret (GK), Pessina, Sirigu (GK), Toloi.