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Italy crowned European champions after penalty shootout victory over England

Italy 1-1 England(3-2 PENS)

Italy are the European champions after a hard-fought, dramatic final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening. The Azzurri beat England on penalties. Luke Shaw opened the scoring after just two minutes, scoring after just two minutes. England, however, failed to build on their advantage and Italy took control of proceedings. Eventually, the pressure told and Leonardo Bonucci scored after 67 minutes. The game went to extra-time and Italy won on penalties.

First half.

Just a minute into the game, Harry Maguire attempted to play a pass back to Jordan Pickford, who wasn’t prepared for the pass. The ball went out for a corner, and from the resulting set-piece, England cleared the ball and broke up the pitch.

With the Italian team out of position, Kieran Trippier crossed the ball to the back post, where an unmarked Luke Shaw finished past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It was the fastest goal ever scored in a European Championship final (1 minute 57 seconds).

England were on top in the period after they scored. Harry Kane was causing problems dropping deep, Raheem Sterling was a threat with his direct running every time he came into possession and Italy were struggling to get their passing game going. England’s wing-backs were also causing problems for Italy.

Southgate’s team were the dominant side in the opening 30 minutes, in a scrappy half full of fouls and broken passages of play. The closest Italy came to scoring in the first half was through Frederico Chiesa. The Juventus forward ran away from Declan Rice, who tried to kick and foul him, before unleashing a low shot with his left foot from 25 yards. Jordan Pickford was beaten but the ball went just wide.

England sat back and invited Italy to break them down. Roberto Mancini’s team huffed and puffed, and looked to get the ball behind England’s wing-backs, but without making a breakthrough.

Italy v England: Second half.

The second half began as frantic as the first half ended. Sterling, who won a soft penalty against Denmark, had a stronger claim for a penalty after a tangle with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, but no spot-kick was given.

Down the other end, Lorenzo Insigine had a great opportunity from 20 yards out with a free-kick but shot wide. A few minutes later, he drew a save from Jordan Pickford as Italy kept possession and tried to create openings.

After an hour, England’s last shot on target had been Shaw’s goal. Southgate’s side had seemingly long since given up any hope of taking control of the game and getting a second goal. They were sloppy in possession and appeared to be playing for fouls and free-kicks. England were camped on the edge of their penalty area and just booting the ball clear when Italy lost possession. England were inviting pressure and Italy soon capitalised.

From a corner which Englan failed to clear, Bonucci scrambled the ball home and it was no more than Mancini’s team deserved. England handed over the initiative and frankly could only blame themselves for failing to build on their early goal. Bonucci became the oldest player to score in a European Championship final (34 years and 71 days).

Italy v England: Extra-time.

Italy were the better team for the remainder of normal time and in extra time. They kept the ball and kept pushing and probing, looking for the pass to cut England open.

Southgate’s side, by comparison, were struggling to get a foothold in the game. Even the arrivals of Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish could do little to speak England into life, as the home side continued to play for set-pieces. In the second half of extra-time, England began to put more pressure on Italy, but Bonucci and particularly Chiellini were immense at the back for the Azzurri.

The game went to penalties and Italy won 3-2. The Azzurri are European champions for the first time since 1968.

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