Fans were treated to a dramatic climax at the EURO 2020, as hosts England were outplayed by Italy in the final, at the Wembley Stadium, London. Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma emerged as the hero of the night after saving shots from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka in the penalty shootout, after the two sides ended extra time at 1-1.


Earlier, Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw had handed England the advantage by opening the scoring in the second minute of normal time. Gareth Southgate’s decision to play wing-backs paid immediate dividends as right-sided Kieran Trippier was the assistant to Shaw’s volley. It was the fastest goal ever scored in a Euro final.

Italy bounced back strongly in the second half and forced errors from the English defense. Defender Leonaro Bonucci eventually restored parity for the Azzurri in the 67th minute following a corner and nervy defending inside the hosts’ box.

Jack Grealish’s introduction sparked a few attacks for England, but couldn’t close the game before extra time. Tired legs and tactical setups meant that the two teams couldn’t be separated after the two periods of extra-time either.


Domenico Berardi and Harry Kane converted their first spot-kicks before Harry Maguire also beat Donnarumma. A miss from Andrea Belotti resulted in a 2-1 advantage for England. But substitute Marcus Rashford then hit the post and Jadon Sancho couldn’t beat the Italian keeper, while both Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored, for a 3-2 Italian lead.

Chelsea’s Jorginho was then denied by Jordan Pickford. The last penalty-taker for the home team was the 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, who couldn’t get past a leaping six-foot five Italian giant in goal.

The 22-year-old Donnarumma was declared as the Player of the Tournament in the post-match ceremony. Not only did he deny the ‘homecoming’ of the trophy in the final, but also helped Italy keep three clean sheets in the tournament. Italy continued their unbeaten run, having won all 10 of their qualifying games before EURO 2020.

Gianluigi ‘Gigi’ Donnarumma has earned a reputation as the most highly-regarded stoppers of his generation. In 2015, he became the second-youngest goalkeeper to play in the Serie A, aged 16 years and 242 days.


He was also the youngest Italy under-21 player ever to play, aged 17 years and 28 days in March 2016. Six months later, he made his senior international debut, becoming the youngest goalkeeper ever to appear for Italy, aged 17 years and 189 days.

He has represented Italian powerhouses AC Milan since his club debut, making 215 appearances and winning the Supercoppa in 2016. Gigi will next be seen playing for the French giants Paris Saint-Germain after his move to the Ligue 1 side as a free agent was reported by Fabrizio Romano in June.

Image: Twitter/Azzurri, EURO2020