How Italy defied all odds in UEFA Euro 2020
Football fans around the world held their breath as England and Italy headed for a penalty shootout after a biting regular spell and extra time that left both sides in a 1-1 draw . The shootout would determine who would be crowned the winner of the UEFA Euro 2020 on Sunday, July 11. 19-year-old midfielder Bukayo Saka stepped in to take England’s fifth penalty in hopes of leading the team to the next round of penalties.
If Saka scored, the shootout would continue. Despite his best efforts, Italian goalkeeper Giauigi Donnarumma managed a spectacular to register to end the shootout at 3-2 and bring the Henri Delaunay Cup trophy back to Italy for the first time in over 50 years.
This tournament was exciting in more ways than one, including exceeding the expectations of several teams. Italy was certainly anticipated perform well, but advertisers, reviews and Fans did not expect them to win the entire tournament after the team failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Denmark also shocked the world by qualifying for the semi-finals, even after losing star midfielder Christian Eriksen in his first game. Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the pitch, going into cardiac arrest and putting his career and life on the line. Danger.
England, Germany and France had some of the strongest rosters and were favorites on the way to the tournament. In the end, however, Italy rose to the challenge and took the victory in the most deserving way.
Although many predicted a competitive clash, England were the favored team because of his talented starting lineup and deep bench.
England also had its land advantage. The match took place at Wembley Stadium in London, where over 60,000 fans attended, the majority of whom were English. With icons like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and former English football legend David Beckham in the stands, it seemed like the whole country had their eyes on their football team. There was even an announcement for a potential holiday if England won. England did not know what Italy had in store for the contest.
England quickly gained confidence in the opening three minutes of the game when defender Luke Shaw threw a volley into the goal, taking the game to 1-0. Italy were not discouraged, however, and they continued to play together as a team and dominate possession. Italy appeared to outsmart England in midfield, giving them better opportunities to connect in the final third of the pitch. This ultimately forced England to concede a corner, allowing Italy’s center-back Leonardo Bonucci to put the ball in the net.
As the game drew to a close and neither side were able to score in extra time, the game turned into a penalty shootout in which Italy ultimately won 3-2. The tournament winners undeniably deserved to bask in the glory of being champions and bring home the pride of being champions of the 2020 European Cup.
Italy clearly showed up to compete and came out victorious, and that is exactly what they did. The underdogs really stepped up not only in the final game, but throughout the tournament. Defender Giorgio Chiellini, for example, was instrumental in leading his team to victory. The 37-year-old has been Italy captain and starting center-back for the tournament. Although he hasn’t started and hasn’t had as much playing time as with his club team Juventus, Chiellini has certainly stood out on the pitch for his leadership. Italy also had others rising to the challenge, showing they played to win despite what others predicted about their potential tournament success.
Overall, the chemistry, creativity and courage of the Italian squad were unwavering during the 2020 UEFA European Cup, leading them to an unexpected but well-deserved championship.