The excitement of a Euro final delivered the goods, as football witnessed a great final between Italy and England. The Wembley stadium was full with spectators as England hoped to register a major trophy after 55 years of wait. But it was not to be against the determination of the Azzurri.
After going down from a 2nd minute half volley from Luke Shaw, Italy put on a brave display of their desire to win. In the contest of Physicality against technical ability, the latter always persists for longer in modern football. Italy’s prolonged periods of spells of possession looked to frustrate England. However, it didn’t yield anything until the second-half corner. Leonardo Bonucci rose to the occasion and slotted the ball past the line from point-blank range, after an unprecedented tussle inside the area.
Roberto Mancini lined his side up in the usual 4-3-3, with the implication that their regular approach would be used in the game. Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate switched his formation to a 3-4-3. He did so against Germany as well. Possession oriented sides tend to struggle penetration a back 5, thus the defensive approach. It was working extremely well for the English before they conceded the equalizer. Till that point in the game, Italy only managed to create half-chances, which were effectively cut out by their physically strong center backs.
England, who were expected to bring impact through the blistering quality on their bench, disappointed, to say the least. It was the Italian side who changed the course of play with their alternations. Even switching to a back 4 after conceding didn’t help Southgate’s cause. Huge praise for that has to go in the direction of Italy’s veteran center back pairing; both on and off the ball. Chiellini and Bonucci made multiple crucial tackles, and in turn were extremely composed in the build-up, which provided that added stability.
It was a nightmare for England in the penalties; three substitutes failed to score one after the other. Jorginho’s penalty was expertly saved by Jordan Pickford, but it mattered little, as Donnarumma came up big to save the fifth penalty for national glory.