Italy won the European Championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday. The match finished 1-1 after extra time.
Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by Bukayo Saka, England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout in front of its own fans at Wembley Stadium.
It was less than four years ago that the Italians plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach.
“It is important we make a good start,” Roberto Mancini had said on the eve of Italy’s fourth EURO final. What ensued was anything but. With less than two minutes on the clock, Harry Kane spread a pass out wide to surprise starter Kieran Trippier, and his delightful cross was met by a crisp left-footed half-volley from the stealthy Shaw. England rejoiced.
“They lifted the country up when we needed it. It’s a harsh, harsh game when it gets to this stage. It’s a painful way to lose it … Italy will enjoy it and give credit to them.”
Former England midfielder Frank Lampard praised both sides.
“We’ve seen individuals and the (England) team grow. We’ve seen the nation grow behind the team. Italy controlled the elements of the game. We must give them credit. They deserve their victory,” he said.