Penalty Heartbreak For Three Lions In Final
- L. Bonucci (67′)
- N. Barella (47′)
- L. Bonucci (55′)
- L. Insigne (84′)
- G. Chiellini (96′)
- Jorginho (114′)
FT: 1 - 1
- L. Shaw (2′)
- H. Maguire (106′)
The Three Lions were chasing a maiden major trophy since Sir Alf Ramsey steered them to 1966 World Cup nirvana but were denied in the cruellest of fashions at an emotional Wembley Stadium.
Southgate’s side had got off to a flyer in front of a raucous 60,000-strong crowd as Luke Shaw thumped home Kieran Trippier’s pinpoint cross with under two minutes on the clock.
Italy levelled through veteran Leonardo Bonucci to tee up a grandstand finale and after extra-time could not separate the two sides, Roberto Mancini’s team held their nerve from the spot to dash England’s hopes of a maiden European Championship title.
Southgate had not sent out an unchanged team for 36 matches heading into the heavyweight clash and he opted to twist once more with a shot at history looming.
The Three Lions boss reverted to the back three that toppled Germany 2-0 in the last 16 as winger Bukayo Saka made way for versatile set-piece specialist Trippier.
And that decision could not have paid more devastating immediate dividends as England, roared on by a buzzing Wembley crowd bouncing off a booming rendition of Sweet Caroline, came flying out of the blocks.
Southgate’s intelligent use of wing-backs came to masterful fruition in a breath-taking move started, and finished, by the red-hot Shaw.
The Manchester United ace picked up possession on the left before freeing captain Harry Kane in the middle of the park, who fed the dangerous Tripper in aches of space on the opposite flank.
And like poetry in glorious Wembley motion, one wing-back found the other as Shaw emphatically met his partner-in-crime’s cross to thump home and to cue chaos up and down the nation.
It marked the earliest goal ever in a European Championship final and Italy, unbeaten in their last 33 matches, were shellshocked as England continued to flood forward.
The Three Lions were causing havoc on the Italians’ left and as Trippier continued to exploit the staggering space available, it took a last-ditch block by a scrambling defence to avert the danger.
Italy did grow gradually into the contest and survived an injury scare when Jorginho, who slotted the winning penalty against Spain in the semi-final, was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Federico Chiesa fired narrowly wide but it was England who continued to pose the greater goalscoring threat as Mount, then that man Shaw, were thwarted by a visibly flustered Italian defence.
Mancini’s side enjoyed more sustained periods in possession as the first half wore on but it was England’s who went into the break ahead thanks to that early Shaw blitz.
England almost started the second half with the same speed as the first but Sterling’s appeal for a penalty fell on deaf ears as referee Bjorn Kuipers refused to budge.
Lorenzo Insigne floated a free-kick over before Harry Maguire did the same with his header from an out-swinging Shaw free-kick.
A strong hand from Jordan Pickford repelled Chiesa’s curling effort before John Stones’ header was tipped over by Gianluigi Donnarumma after Trippier’s inviting cross.
A see-saw contest was unfolding under the arch but after a brilliant defensive header from Maguire went out for a corner, the Italians were level.
England were unable to clear their lines and despite a fine save by Pickford on to a Wembley post, defender Bonucci was on hand to stab home.
Italy had the momentum and Southgate shook things up with 20 minutes remaining as he brought on Saka for Trippier in a change of formation.
And Mount almost teed up the Arsenal substitute after getting in behind the Italy defence before Shaw’s rising attempt flew over Donnarumma’s bar.
Italy were bossing the ball as the clock ticked down to 90 minutes but just like Wednesday’s semi-final thriller against the Danes, extra-time beckoned under the arch.
Kalvin Phillips fired a volley wide from distance before with 20 minutes left until penalties, Southgate rolled the dice and threw on fans’ favourite Jack Grealish.
A low Emerson cross had England hearts in mouths before after the break, Pickford parried Federico Bernardeschi’s free-kick, Stones went close with a header and Sterling was denied by a fine piece of defending from Giorgio Chiellini.
Bryan Cristante went close with a late glancing header but with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho now on the pitch, the nip and tuck final was set for penalties.
Kane and Maguire blasted their spot-kicks home as a brilliant save from Pickford kept out Andrea Belotti’s effort.
And despite another heroic save from Pickford to deny Jorginho and keep England’s hopes alive, Rashford, Sancho and Saka were unable to convert as Southgate’s side fell devastatingly short at Wembley.
England (3-4-2-1): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United); 12 Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), 14 Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), 4 Declan Rice (West Ham United), 3 Luke Shaw (Manchester United); 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 19 Mason Mount (Chelsea); 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) (c)
Substitutes: 25 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) for Trippier 71’, 8 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) for Rice 74’, 7 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) for Mount 99’, 11 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) for Henderson 120’, 17 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) for Walker 120’
Substitutes not used: 13 Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United), 15 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), 16 Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 18 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 20 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 23 Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), 24 Reece James (Chelsea), 26 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
Goals: Shaw 2’
Italy (4-3-3): 21 Gianluigi Donnarumma (free agent); 2 Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), 19 Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), 3 Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus) (c), 13 Emerson (Chelsea); 18 Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), 5 Jorginho (Chelsea), 6 Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain); 14 Federico Chiesa (Juventus), 17 Ciro Immobile (Lazio), 10 Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
Substitutes: 16 Bryan Cristante (Roma) for Barrella 54’, 11 Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) for Immobile 55’, 20 Federico Bernardeschi for Chiesa 86’, 9 Andrea Belotti (Torino) for Insigne 90’, 5 Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo) for Verratti 96’
Substitutes not used: 1 Salvatore Sirigu (Torino), 12 Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), 15 Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), (Juventus), 23 Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan), 24 Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), 25 Rafael Toloi (Atalanta), 26 Alex Meret (Napoli)
Goals: Bonucci 67’
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers