Italy wins Euro 2020. Against England and in England’s stadium, Wembley. It’s 3-2 at the penalties, where the Italian goalie Donnarumma played his most important game yet. Despite a shocking beginning to the match, Mancini’s boys succeeded. Indeed, it’s true. Italy wins Euro 2020 and it closes this European run with a triumph.
The final of Euro 2020
The team of the azzurri was the underdog. Without a doubt, experts and supporters believed France or Germany would make it to the final of Euro 2020. Perhaps some bet on England or even Spain. Not many bet on Italy, at least not at the beginning.
Yet, there they were, standing in Wembley and surrounded by English supporters. No one outside of Italy believed in this group. Yet, there they were, singing Notti Magiche on the bus after every hard and beautiful win. Coach Roberto Mancini always said it. He and his players weren’t at Euro 2020 to make an appearance. They didn’t go with a goal in mind. In fact, their goal was winning until it was over. And it worked because Italy wins Euro 2020.
Italy wins Euro 2020: the highlights
Still, the first 15 minutes of the match weren’t easy. England scored at the second minute, when the Italian players were still trying to get their bearing. So, it set out to be an uphill battle. When the azzurri finally got the right groove, they never stopped.
It was hard, but they tried and tried. Until veteran Bonucci scored at the 67th minute. His goal was a breath of fresh air for his teammates, coach Mancini, and every Italian watching at home. Now, it was a draw. The game went to the extra time, filled with chances but none of them turned into a goal.
So it was time for the penalties, the lottery of soccer, where goalies become the protagonists. The Italian Donnarumma sure wasn’t about to disappoint. When Belotti made a mistake, the Italian dream could have been over. But Rashford missed too. The game is back on. Bernardeschi scored, Jorginho missed. It was all in the giant hands of Donnarumma. And he stopped Sancho’s kick. It’s 3-2 and Italy wins Euro 2020.
The reactions from the team
So, who was happier, lifting the trophy in Wembley? It’s hard to tell because these players have always said it: their strength is in the team.
“This is Italy’s rebirth,” said Leonardo Bonucci in the post match interview, “this will remain in the history. We owe this to coach Mancini, who let us bring our families to the tournament. Despite having our families, we were always together. So we knew something was different. Every day, the flame fed from the spirit of the group because we never got tired of being together. “
So, thanks Mancini for creating a team of azzurri that didn’t just play together. They also loved each other.
“We are happy for each and every Italian, they deserved it,” said Mancini, “we did something incredible. These 50 days have been hard but we never had a problem or a fight. This thanks to the boys, not just in the field. They strengthened the group outside of the field. They created something unique because they respected each other.”
Respect, friendship, and hard-work. That’s the azzurri’s recipe to win an European tournament. And to tell Italians that it is possible.
What the victory means back home
Italy’s triumph at Euro 2020 is more than sports. To Italians, this victory symbolizes that the whole country can be reborn. The Peninsula has always tried to play with the big league of European politics, but it was always the black sheep. Just like the soccer team, it was underestimated.
Then, the pandemic hit and it hit hard. The country was the first place were Covid-19 showed its face and Europeans tried to marginalize it. Italy was left alone in the fight against the virus, with thousands of deaths, long lockdowns (the first in Europe), and a recovery both economical and mental. Between reopening and shutting down, everyone paid a price. Even international solidarity.
Once again, all hopes laid on soccer. In a country divided by populist politics and daily challenges, Mancini’s boys could bring union. And they did. The team’s journey at Euro 2020 inspired everyone, especially after the miss at the 2018 World Cup. After three years of hard-work, fights, and attempts, Italy wins Euro 2020 and it’s back on top of Europe.
Indeed, this is more than a game. Because soccer always had the power to inspire and to let Italians breath, forgetting rivalries and problems. It’s the victory of a country that, when pushed, knows how to come together. And hopefully, can learn how to stay together. Even when they are the underdog.
“We felt the magic growing every day,” said veteran player Giorgio Chiellini.” And magic it was, 53 years after the last Italian Euro victory.