FOOTBALL – The day that England fans have been waiting for finally arrived. Gareth Southgate had already achieved more than any previous manager. England were through to the Euro 2020 final for the first time in the history of the competition.
Before the match began, more than 1,000 fans stormed through the barriers next to the main reception area. Initially, stadium security was unable to contain the situation as the fans made their way to the areas reserved for the player´s families.
However, after this incident was under control, a second one began. Over 1,000 more people without tickets, smashed the doors to Gate G off their hinges and ran into the stadium. The stadium was in chaos. This continued even after kick-off when hundreds more forced their way in. Ahead of the game, the atmosphere was tense, but for all the wrong reasons.
Teams took the knee
Before kick-off, both teams took the knee. The stadium errupted in applause. Any boos were drowned out by the noise from the support.
Then, just two minutes into the game, Maguire headers the ball clear from the Italian side while Shaw makes the run towards goal. After passes to Kane and Trippier, the ball is passed to Shaw once again. Shaw powers the ball into the net from the six yard mark. What a fantastic start for England.
In just under two minutes, this is a Championship record as being the fastest goal scored. What an amazing birthday present for Shaw who celebrates his birthday on Monday (today).
As the rain continues to fall on Wembley Stadium, both teams seem locked. Neither seem to have the upper hand. But then Italy begin to gain more possession of the game. However, they still don´t seem to pose a threat on goal.
A chance for Italy
The first real chance for Italy came after 35 minutes in Chiesa strikes low towards the bottom right hand corner of the net and misses by inches. England retain their lead.
Four minutes are added to the first half for stoppage time. Within the first minute, Italy have another chance. Di Lorenzo took the ball down the right which was met by Immobile who hit towards goal. However, Stones managed to block the ball. Verratti had an attempt from the rebound, but Pickford saved it with ease.
The first half ended Italy 0 – 1 England.
The second half started frantically. Italy seemed to have the majority of the possession, but still no goals. Pickford made some fine saves.
Italy were awarded a corner. It was a scramble in the box as Cristante missed the spot and Verratti missed with his header. Then the ball came to Bonucci who sent it home at close range. It was now 1-1.
For the remainder of the second half, the ball stayed mainly with the Italian side. But then one minute before full time, Sterling made a run down the left. However, he was met by Bonucci and Chiellini before he could make his final shot at goal.
Six minutes were added to this half. Italy continue to control the play, however the full time score ended 1-1. It then went to 30 minutes of extra time.
Pickford once again demonstrated his worth. Then Sterling made another amazing run down the left, but was shut down by Bonucci. However, he won a corner out of it. But unfortunately, it did not result in a goal.
Almost at the end of the first half of extra time, Italy had another chance at goal. Pickford managed to block it, but then Bernardeschi ran in, but his strike hit off Belotti and finished wide left.
The second half of extra time meant it was only 15 more minutes for one team to score and lift the trophy. Otherwise, the game would go to penalties. Various substitutions were made and fresh legs entered the pitch. But the extra time remained goalless.
The coin was tossed and Italy were the first to take the penalty. The tension in the stadium was immense.
Berardi stepped up first and scored for Italy. Kane followed next for England. He also scored. Belotti was next for Italy, but his attempt failed. England now had the advantage. Maguire took full advantage and scored. England were now up 1-2 on penalties. Bonucci sent the next goal home. Then Rashford missed. The match was equal again. Bernardeschi for Italy slammed the ball dead centre. Italy were in the lead again. Substitute, Sancho took his turn, and missed. The match was slipping away from England. Or was it? Pickford saved the next attempt from Jorginho. England just needed one goal to equalise. Saka was devastated as Donnarumma saved his strike at goal.
Euro 2020 winners
It was a hard fought game, full of energy and skill. There could only be one winner. It was Italy. Well done to England to have reached this stage.