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Wednesday, July 28, 2021
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Italy crowned European champions after shootout win over England

Italy won the European Championship for the first time since 1968 as Gianluigi Donnarumma saved two England penalties en route to a 3-2 shootout win after the teams had fought out a 1-1 extra-time draw at a raucous Wembley on Sunday (July 11).

The giant keeper saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit a post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians.

Luke Shaw had given England a dream start with a superb goal after two minutes but Italy, who offered almost nothing in response in the first half, gradually took command as the hosts sat back and levelled through Bonucci after 67 minutes.

It was the first final to be decided on penalties since Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in 1976 and will be wildly celebrated in Italy after they lost in the final in 2000 and 2012.

They made most of the running after halftime and in extra time and England can have few complaints after their early promise faded away.

It was nevertheless heartbreaking for most of the 67,000 Wembley crowd as England came up short in their first major final since they won the World Cup 55 years ago.

It had all started so well when Harry Kane spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier and he instantly repaid coach Gareth Southgate’s faith in recalling him by sending over a curling deep cross that the fast-arriving Shaw met on the half volley to hammer inside the post for his first international goal.

England had taken an early lead in their 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia before eventually being outplayed and beaten in extra time, but they did not look like giving up the initiative on home soil, playing on the front foot, though failing to threaten Donnarumma.

(Production: Kurt Michael Hall)

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