Football did not come home after all, as Italy were the cause of England’s heartbreak in the 2020 European Championship final at Wembley Stadium.
The Three Lions found themselves in a major international final after 55 years, but Gareth Southgate’s men fell at the very last hurdle before achieving eternal glory as they lost to the Azzurri on penalties–all thanks to one man.
It was Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma who was the star of the late-night Sunday show, as the young goalkeeper pulled off two brilliant saves to keep out England’s EURO 2020 hopes.
Luke Shaw’s early strike in the 2nd minute sent the Wembley crowd into delirium, but Italy pulled back through Leonardo Bonucci in the second half.
90 minutes could not separate the two sides and thirty additional minutes of extra time beckoned, but the match remained in the balance.
It was going to be down to spot-kicks at Wembley once again, a football lottery to decide who gets to lift the biggest continental title of Europe.
Italy went first and scored through Dominico Berardi, while Harry Kane brought England level. Andrea Belotti had his penalty saved by Jordan Pickford, while Harry Maguire sent England ahead with a well-taken kick.
While Leonardo Bonucci scored next, Marcus Rashford was denied by the post–and Federico Bernardeschi brought Italy on level terms. After that, it was all down to Donnarumma to deliver, and he did exactly what was asked of him and more.
The 22-year-old who has recently just completed a move to Paris Saint-Germain saved from Jadon Sancho to make it match point for Italy.
Jorginho had the chance to settle the game from the spot for the second match running, but Pickford’s well-made save meant that England had to score next to still be in it.
Up stepped young Bukayo Saka, but it was not to be as Donnarumma dived to his left and punched out Saka’s feeble attempt from the spot to trigger Italian celebrations.
Wembley was stunned into silence as the visitors had stolen the show right at the very end, and Donnarumma was rewarded for his knock-out stage heroics by being given the EURO 2020 Player of the Tournament award–becoming only the second goalkeeper to ever do so after Peter Schmeichel in 1992.
Saka trynna hold it in.. also class that Donnarumma didn’t celebrate right at his face after saving itpic.twitter.com/cbLjKTteHp— |2i (@Trentsque) July 12, 2021
🇮🇹 Player of the Tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma inspiring Italy to EURO glory! 🧤@azzurri | #EURO2020 | #ITA pic.twitter.com/3sZgFWNI08— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 11, 2021
IL MODO IN CUI L’HANNO ASSALITO 😭 pic.twitter.com/FV4x67VO6j— ɢ. (@unascenastrana) July 11, 2021