Is it coming home? England aim to win their first-ever European Championship by defeating an Italy side 33-games unbeaten in all competitions in the Euro 2020 finals on Sunday. However, they weren’t able to stop the Italian juggernaut either, losing the game 1-1 (2-3) in a dramatic penalty shoot out!
The Three Lions started the game in exquisite fashion, taking the lead in the 2nd minute itself when Kieran Trippier’s cross was converted by the unlikeliest of sources in Luke Shaw. England saw off a lot of Italy’s onslaught in the first half, going into the break with the lead!
Gareth Southgate’s side then went into a shell and encouraged Italy to attack then. In the 67th minute, the Italians got their equalizer after Leonardo Bonucci pounced on some poor set-piece defending to make it 1-1! None of the teams were unable to get the winner in normal time, forcing another extra time in a big Euros game.
The extra time was a tight affair as well, with neither team being able to find a winner and forcing penalty shootouts for only the second time in a Euros final history! In the end, England’s poor penalty shootout history came back to haunt them – with 3 young players missing their penalties to hand Italy the win. The Three Lions did an admirable job to come this far, but the lack of experience ultimately cost them the trophy.
Here are England player ratings vs Italy.
England Player Ratings vs Italy
Gareth Southgate (4.5) –
Before the game, Southgate threaded a very fine line because of his over-cautiousness in setting up England and team selection. Even in this one, he rested the majority of the creative star players and was too defensive against a side who love getting all the ball possession.
After a promising start, he couldn’t manage the game well enough to stop Italy from getting the equalizer. Then his substitutions were too late – bringing on Rashford and Sancho minutes before the penalties – when they should’ve come much before. His penalty shoot out takers could’ve been better too because sending in such inexperienced stars for clutch penalties was quite cruel on them.
In the end, Southgate’s pragmatism and inability to take a few risks – which Mancini did – cost him. Another case of so close, yet so far for the England manager, but things are unlikely to improve unless he’s braver with his tactics in big games going forward.
Jordan Pickford (7.0) –
The England goalkeeper hopes to seal his Golden Glove trophy with another clean sheet today. Makes a strong reflex save to deny Insigne in the 56th. Makes a fantastic stop to deny Chiesa in the 62nd with a strong diving effort. Unfortunately unable to do anything to save Bonucci’s equalizer from yards out.
Pickford did a great job in the penalty shoot out, making two clutch saves but just wasn’t rewarded by his teammates who missed too many of their own penalties.
Kieran Trippier (7.0) –
Recalled back into the starting XI, Trippier proves his worth with a pinpoint cross to catch out Shaw for his strike. Causing major problems with his crosses and positioning in the final third. Created a number of chances with his impressive crosses, but not that perfect defensively. Taken off for Saka in the second half.
Kyle Walker (6.0)-
The Man City full-back is back to a centre-back role in this big game. He’s done well to limit Italy’s threat down the left, making some clutch challenges to stop their attacks. Used his pace really well to neutralize a number of Italy’s attacks and keep their threat neutralized on his side.
John Stones (5.5) –
Stones has been working as a clever, unseen source of inspiration in the first half by helping maintain a solid defensive line. But then makes an error for Italy’s equalizer, losing a crucial duel to allow Bonucci score the tap-in. Stones did win a lot of aerial duels but looked too nervous against Italy’s attacks through the game.
Harry Maguire (7.5) –.
The in-form centre-back is determined to continue his impressive recent form. Extremely dominant in the first half, neutralizing the majority of Italy’s attack in the first half. Struck a towering header over the bar in the 55th. Maintained a strong defensive line for England through the 90 minutes with his dominant defending, not allowing Italy to create much from open play.
Maguire was again England’s best defender on the day, making 6 clearances, winning 4 aerial duels and 7 duels in general through the game. Scores a perfect pen in the shootout to finish off a brilliant performance.
Luke Shaw (8.0) –
The BEST left-back in the world proves his worth with a brilliant opener after sneaking into the box and hitting a perfect volley into the back of the net. It was also the quickest goal scored in a Euros final in history! Looks recharged for this, getting forward with confidence and creating chances with his clever work outside the box.
Picked out Sterling really well to create his big chance early in the 2nd half. Then creates a great chance for Maguire with an impressive set-piece in the 55th only for him to miss. Defensively quite strong too and unlucky to be on the losing side.
Declan Rice (7.5) –
The West Ham midfielder seems really pumped up for this and is pressing really hard to trouble the Italy midfielders. Got beat too easily by Chiesa for his chance in the 35th. Completely dominated things in midfield in the first half. Completely bossed the midfield almost throughout the game, winning 13 key duels and got the ball forward smartly with his impressive forward runs. Subbed in the 73rd after looking evidently exhausted.
Kalvin Phillips (7.0) –
Phillips is accompanying Rice really well in midfield by adding an extra protective layer in midfield and using his aggressiveness to unnerve Italy midfielders. Moved into a deeper role after Rice’s substitution and helped progress the ball from defence into attack smartly. Attempts an ambitious shot past a sea of bodies in the 96th that goes well wide.
Ended an impressive tournament with another hard-working, tenacious performance which reasserts his role as a key part of this English side for years to come.
Mason Mount (5.0) –
The Chelsea man is creating big problems for Italy with his clever final third passes. Playing more down the left-wing in this one. Almost set up a goal-scoring chance for Sterling in the 34th, before his pass was intercepted. Should’ve defended better for the equalizer, as it was him losing out a crucial duel that led to Bonucci’s tap-in.
Got into the box with a clever run in the 83rd but his pass wasn’t converted by anyone! Unable to create anything big all game long and couldn’t really help his side dominate the game better either.
Raheem Sterling (4.5) –
England’s most dangerous attacker in this tournament starts in a right-wing role today. Troubling Italy’s defenders with his diagonal runs into the middle. Barged into the box in the 48th minute and was seemingly brought down – but the referee waved his claims away. But despite his clever movement, Sterling horribly lacked the final product on the day and unable to create anything special.
Harry Kane (4.0) –
The England captain aims to prove his worth with an inspired showing today. Quite selfless with his clever link-up play in the first half. Rendered ineffective because of Italy’s strong defending, not letting him get a shot or target or in goal-scoring areas. At least scores his penalty in the shoot-out.
Bukayo Saka (5.0) –
The Arsenal winger came on to create trouble with his unpredictable side – but couldn’t really case major problems despite some good movement. Put under immense pressure with an important penalty in the shootout and nervous hit his attempt straight at Donnarumma to give Italy a win.
Jordan Henderson (5.5) –
The Liverpool captain was brought on to add more bite to England’s midfield but couldn’t really do much to stop Italy’s dominance. Subbed before the penalty shootout despite being a sub himself.
Jack Grealish (5.5) –
Grealish wasn’t really able to create the big chances he’s expected to after coming on. Surprisingly snubbed for the penalty shoot out despite his ability.
Jadon Sancho (4.0) –
Sancho was brought on for the penalties but saw his poor attempt saved by Donnarumma.
Marcus Rashford (3.5) –
Brought on for being a penalty specialist – but stuttered too much on his attempt before hitting the post to miss his pen!
MAN OF THE MATCH
Maguire was probably England’s best player all game long, despite Shaw getting the goal. However, Gianluigi Donnarumma deserves this one for coming up big in the penalty shoot out!