UEFA Euro 2020

The moments that decided the Euro 2020 final

Tom Gott
Italy saw off England in the Euro 2020 final
Italy saw off England in the Euro 2020 final / Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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The standout team of Euro 2020, Italy got the reward they deserved as they saw off England in Sunday's finale at Wembley Stadium.

It was a hard-fought game which went all the way to a penalty shootout, during which Gianluigi Donnarumma made himself a hero with two saves and enough intimidation to force another miss.

Let's take a look at the moments which defined the game.


1. Luke Shaw's early goal

It took England just two minutes to set the tempo for this one.

Gareth Southgate's decision to change to a 3-4-3 and use wing-backs immediately paid off as Kieran Trippier picked out Luke Shaw with a glorious cross, and the Man Utd man fired home from close range to put England ahead.

It gave the Italians something to fight for, and that's exactly what they did.

2. Federico Chiesa spins Declan Rice

Italy slowly grew into the game, and by the 35th minute, it was clear they weren't messing about anymore.

Federico Chiesa, who was excellent before being forced off through injury, put Declan Rice in a spin cycle and charged at goal on a dangerous run, which ended with a long-range strike fizzing wide of the post.

Rice had been outstanding in that first half, so to see him manhandled by Chiesa was a real shock to the system and a sign of just how hard Italy were going for this.

3. Raheem Sterling goes down

England could have extended their lead to two goals shortly after the break when Raheem Sterling went down in the box under duress from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, but nothing was given.

As was the case in the semi-final against Denmark, there was clear contact but perhaps not enough for a penalty, and Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers was having none of this one.

England's best chance at getting themselves back on top of the game was denied and it took them far too long to regain any form of momentum.

4. Ciro Immobile subbed off

Ciro Immobile, Domenico Berardi
Immobile was ineffective / JOHN SIBLEY/Getty Images

Italy were impressive in attack but didn't look like creating anything too serious in the first half. Ten minutes after the break, Roberto Mancini decided he had seen enough and hauled off Ciro Immobile, who endured a tournament to forget on an individual level after the group stage.

Instead of a like-for-like replacement, Mancini went for Domenico Berardi, giving Italy three tricky wingers up top. It was Lorenzo Insigne who spent the most time in the central role, and his movement ripped through England time and time again.

England had to drop so deep to try and deny the trio any space, and that just allowed Italy to keep piling on the pressure.

5. Italian equaliser

It always seemed like just a matter of time before Italy got themselves back in the game, and the goal eventually came in the 67th minute, although not how you'd expect.

There was no glamorous movement or intricate passing for this one. Instead, Bonucci just bundled the ball home from a corner after a fine save from Jordan Pickford. Probably the ugliest goal of the whole tournament.

Italy were on the front foot already, but now that the score was tied up, they had a renewed sense of optimism that England just couldn't contain.

6. Declan Rice replaced

Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson
Rice had been England's top performer / Lars Baron/Getty Images

Rice was probably England's best player on the night. Matching up with the Italian midfield was a Herculean task but one which the West Ham man managed incredibly well... until he was taken off.

On in his place came Jordan Henderson, who was by no means bad, but it was just a curious decision to take off England's top performer at such a crucial time in the match.

Southgate must have felt England needed fresh legs, but choosing to sacrifice Rice was a strange one.

7. Giorgio Chiellini's cynical foul

In the 96th minute, with Bukayo Saka threatening to make one last chance on the counter, he was cynically pulled back by Chiellini.

The centre-back was handed a yellow card after grabbing an advancing Saka by his collar and hauling him to the floor. It was so aggressive that someone even edited Chiellini's Wikipedia page to say he had a strangling fetish.

Italy's defence was just so experienced and so willing to do whatever it took. There was just no way around them.

8. Penalty substitutions

Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Gareth Southgate
Sancho & Rashford were brought on for penalties / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

With extra-time winding down, Southgate made the decision to start preparing his side for penalties.

Off went Henderson and Kyle Walker, who were replaced by Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho. The soon-to-be United teammates both took penalties, and both missed.

Penalties are obviously a lottery and no blame can be attributed to them, but the two players were always going to be at a disadvantage. They had played so few minutes in the tournament but were now being asked to take a penalty in a European final with very little warm-up. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work.

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