Italy took home the crown for Eurocup 2020. They became champions of Europe for the second time after a penalty shoot-out success against England in the UEFA EURO 2020 final.
The Italian Takeover
The Italy team reeled off at the start of the Finals match, but gradually found solid footing. Roberto Mancini's men started to get active. Soon the Azzurri were again playing the kind of football they believe in; a central aspect of the philosophy the coach has drummed into his players since taking over in 2018.
The Winning Streak
Roberto Mancini's strategy was to build his team around the midfield trio of Nicolò Barella, Jorginho and Marco Verratti, and they all played their part at Wembley. Italy's possession became increasingly efficient as they put England under pressure, forcing the Three Lions to chase the ball for most of the game.
Italy completed over twice as many passes as England, 758 to 340, is a delightful shock to Italy fans around the globe.
Defend and Protect
England's star players, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, were guarded by the two defensive grandmasters Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. Italy should probably have created more chances themselves at the opposite end of the pitch, especially once they had seized control of midfield following Bonucci's equaliser.
MVP of the Match: Gianluigi Donnarumma
England probably has one of the best defences in Europe, with just two goals conceded in almost 700 minutes throughout the tournament. But when you have a certain Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal, penalty shoot-outs are more likely to bring tears of joy rather than sadness.
The Final Score
England have been defensively solid from the start. But a familiar failing reared its head as Italy's midfield took control after the break – a pattern seen previously in their semi-final defeats in which leads slipped away against Croatia at Russia 2018 and the Netherlands in the 2019 UEFA Nations League.
England made progress though – with the midfield duo of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips having terrific tournaments – but in this game at least, they were second best. It was truly Italy’s moment in the spotlight.
"In the end we haven't been able to keep the ball well enough in the second period of normal time especially and that invited more and more pressure," Gareth Southgate reflected. "We know it's something that we have to be better at but the time to analyse that in depth is not for this moment." With less of the ball, it meant fewer possibilities to feed the forwards and that explosive start ultimately counted for nothing.