It didn’t come home after all. England may have scored just two minutes into the Euro 2020 final against Italy, but the Azzurri would equalise in the second half before sealing their continental crown on penalties.
Throughout the contest, fans around the world reacted to all the drama in real time. To tell the story of how this game unfolded, ESPN mined social media for the best reaction to all the evening’s action.
The drama at Wembley began well before a ball was kicked in anger, well before the ball bags were emptied for warmups. While an official statement from the famed statement read that “there were no security breaches of people without tickets getting inside the stadium,” the reality on the ground looked much different.
Several people inside the ground captured video of fans overrunning stewards. Several more noted supporters standing in aisles and minor disputes over seats.
But inside two minutes, everyone in attendance couldn’t help but watch what was unfolding on the pitch. England scored the fastest goal in the history of the Euros, when Luke Shaw volleyed home off the inside of the near post on just one minute and 57 seconds.
And, as you can imagine, Wembley went wild.
Of course, this being a major tournament final, there were stars in attendance. Former England midfielder and all-around icon David Beckham taking in the moment? Yeah, that makes sense. That he celebrated Shaw’s goal with Tom Cruise? That was less predictable.
For the ensuing 65 minutes, the Three Lions went from firmly in control of the final, with nearly all of Wembley behind them, to Italy slowly but surely gaining a foothold in the contest. Jordan Pickford made a fine save from Federico Chiesa, sounding the alarm for England, but it wasn’t heeded.
In the 67th minute, Leonardo Bonucci reacted to a scramble in the six-yard box, poking home the equaliser for the Azzurri.
Nineteen minutes later, Italy’s ascendancy was stunted when Chiesa was forced off after receiving treatment on his ankle. The Juventus attacker had been the most lively player on the pitch, for either side, and seemed the most likely to write the names of Roberto Mancini’s men in the history books.
And if it couldn’t get any worse for the Wembley security staff, they then had to deal with a pitch invader. Who successfully evaded them, for more than a minute.
Ninety minutes wasn’t enough to separate England and Italy. The Three Lions couldn’t find a second goal in the 88 minutes following their opener, as the Azzurri grew into the game and looked the more dangerous side in the closing stages of normal time.
With time ticking away, and the prospect of penalties looming on the horizon, substitute Jack Grealish suffered a nasty challenge from the studs of Jorginho. ESPN analyst and Euro 2016 match official Mark Clattenburg said during the broadcast that the Chelsea midfielder’s contact with the ball first, causing his boot’s deflection, left the punishment to be a caution — which is precisely what the Italian received.
Would that decision prove prophetic? Jorginho being one of the world’s premier penalty takers, after all.
To the spot kicks we would go. For the first time since 1976, the European Championship final would be decided by penalties.
It would be a rollercoaster of a shootout, with Andrea Belotti, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Jorginho and Bukayo Saka all missing or having their efforts saved. Gianluigi Donnarumma got both hands on Saka’s final effort, sealing the European championship for Italy.
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