Italy has won a dramatic European Championship final against England after they prevailed in a nail-biting penalty shootout at Wembley Stadium on Monday AEST.
It was just the second time in tournament history the final had been decided on penalties and Italy won after three England players failed to score in the shootout.
Watch the shootout in the video above
England struck the fastest goal in a Euro final when, after breaking out from an Italy corner, Harry Kane fed Kieran Trippier on the right and his glorious cross was drilled home first time by left back Luke Shaw after one minute 57 seconds.
But Italy drew level in the 67th when England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford pushed Marco Verratti’s header against the post and Leonardo Bonucci pounced to slot in the loose ball.
The scores were level at 1-1 after 90 minutes and neither side could find a winner in extra time.
In the shootout, Gianluigi Donnarumma dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by Bukayo Saka to hand Italy the title in front of England fans at Wembley.
Saka, a 19-year-old Londoner, was embraced by several England players after his miss.
England coach Gareth Southgate hugged Jadon Sancho, who missed the previous England penalty, while Marcus Rashford – the other one to miss – walked off down the tunnel.
Sancho and Rashford had been brought on in the final minute of extra time, seemingly as specialist penalty takers.
England was playing in its first major final in 55 years. It’s the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.
England last won a major tournament in 1966.
It was less than four years ago that the Italians plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades.
Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach.
Donnarumma was in tears as he was embraced by his teammates as they sprinted toward him from the halfway line, where they watched the second penalty shootout in a European Championship final.
They then headed to the other end of the field and ran as one, diving to the ground in front of their own fans.
It was Italy’s second continental title after 1968, to add to the country’s four World Cups.
That the match went to extra time – like three of the six European finals before it – was not unexpected, given both semifinals also went the distance and the defensive solidity of both the teams.
– with AP