Football Features

“An impassable brick wall” – Player ratings after a defensive battle as Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties to win Euro 2020

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:40, 11 July 2021

After a tense and fraught night of football, Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties to win Euro 2020.

Italy are now 34 matches unbeaten and just two games away from beating Spain’s all-time record. What’s more; they’ve won the European Championships for the first time since 1968. A young England side made it all the way to the final but lacked the coaching bravery to see things through at the end, falling on penalties.

Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:

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Italy

Gianluigi Donnarumma – 9 – Completely and utterly monumental all game long, just as he has been all tournament long. After Shaw’s shocking volley, Donnarumma was an impassable brick wall in the Italian goal. He handled all of England’s crosses during the game and then massacred them in the penalty shootout intimidating Marcus Rashford to miss through his sheer size and then saving two straight spot-kicks to deliver the trophy for Italy. The Azzurri dreaded Gianluigi Buffon’s decline for so many years but Donnarumma has instantly shown he is every bit a goalkeeping genius as his much-decorated predecessor. Man of the match, man of the tournament, man of the year.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 8 – A defensive rock that shut down Raheem Sterling.

Leonardo Bonucci – 8 – Another brilliant performance at the back and of course he buried the Italian equaliser just after the hour.

Giorgio Chiellini – 8 – Really struggled with Kane in the air as the England captain constantly made him run out of position to make the headers. However he soon recovered and began holding his ground and, when he did that, England were powerless to get by him.

Emerson – 8 – Albeit he’s no Leonardo Spinazzola, but Emerson nevertheless played really well. Was a constant outlet in attack.

Jorginho – 7 – Italy’s best midfielder with some lovely balls to advance the Azzurri attacks, plenty of interceptions to cut off Italy and just ran the show as he usually did. Would have been an 8 but he was lucky to avoid a red card for a foul on Grealish and then he absolutely made a mess of his penalty.

Marco Verratti – 8 – Struggled in the first 15 minutes but recovered to get more of a foothold in the game. Really controlled the game in the second-half until he was subbed off early in extra-time.

Nico Barella – 5 – Couldn’t influence the game at all, even though he showed some deft touches and passes.

Federico Chiesa – 7 – A bright spark in attack whose dribbling and readiness to shoot had him posing a constant threat.

Lorenzo Insigne – 7 – Full of tricks and pulled a massive performance out of every England defender.

Ciro Immobile – 4 – Bar one snapshot in the first-half he was even more ineffective than he was against Spain. Subbed off before the hour.

Substitutes:

Bryan Cristante (for Barella 55′) – 7 – Came on and added solidity to midfield where Italy needed it.

Domenico Berardi (for Immobile 55′) – 7 – Was a flying presence. Scored the penalty.

Federico Bernadeschi (for Chiesa 86′) – 7 – Came on and while he wasn’t as devastating as Chiesa, but still bright. Scored what turned out to be the winning penalty.

Andrea Belotti (for Insigne 91′) – 4 – Really poor. Added nothing in open play and then missed his penalty in the shootout.

Manuel Locatelli (for Verratti 96′) – 5 – Put in a good shift.

Alessandro Florenzi (for Emerson 118′) – n/a – Came on late.


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England

Jordan Pickford – 8 – Did well. So unlucky to concede the equaliser after an amazing save from a Verratti header and was incredible in the shootout stopping Belotti and Jorginho superbly.

Kyle Walker – 8 – Defended really well for the most part. Superb overlapping run for the goal.

John Stones – 8 – Very impressive against Immobile and every other Italian forward.

Harry Maguire – 8 – Was once again a rock at the heart of defence. No Italian could get by him in open play and after the switch to a back four he was bringing the ball out from the back with ease and ambition. Rattled in the best penalty in the shootout.

Kieran Trippier – 7 – A sublime start to the game as he constantly raided into the space behind and around Emerson. Delicious cross for England’s opener. Helped Walker out defensively too.

Kalvin Phillips – 8 – A relentless dynamo in the middle helping to stem the progress of the Italian midfielders.

Declan Rice – 8 – Really impressive while he was on the field, both in terms of winning the ball but also carrying it forward with so much confidence. A moving brick wall who was unlucky to fade in he second-half and then got subbed off.

Luke Shaw – 8 – Ignited the game with a delightful bit of play to get the ball out from his own final third then carried on running forward and thundered a volley in at the near-post to give England an early lead. A sublime goal that was the highlight of excellent first hour of football. After that he was mostly defending but he did even that well.

Mason Mount – 4 – Positionally great in the first-half to prevent Italy’s formation shift in possession to unleash Emerson. Used the ball poorly, however, and was basically a non-entity for the entire second-half that he somehow managed to stay on for.

Raheem Sterling – 5 – A couple of lively runs aside, never really got into it. Far from the supreme Sterling we have seen at the Euros. Bizarrely didn’t step up to take a penalty in the shootout, letting three young subs go before him.

Harry Kane – 4 – As in the semi-final he was mostly poor but his passing from midfield in the early stages was sublime and played a big part in England’s goal. Spent the final 90 minutes of the game aimlessly trawling around the pitch. Scored his penalty nicely enough but Kane didn’t have a single shot nor did he even touch the ball inside the Italian box. Yeah his passes are great n’ all but he’s a striker and if he’s physically incapable of playing that role, England should have turned to someone who could.

Substitutes:

Bukayo Saka (for Trippier 71′) – 4 – Absolutely awful. Did not catch the pace of the game at all and after bravely stepping up to take England’s final penalty he saw it saved by Donnarumma.

Jordan Henderson (for Rice 74′) – 5 – Made one great forward pass but in general the forwards he needed to make the most of his forward balls didn’t come onto the pitch until he went off.

Jack Grealish (for Mount 100′) – 6 – Looked very bright and full of energy. Added so much to England’s play but then didn’t step up in the shootout despite his heroic status.

Marcus Rashford (for Walker 120′) – 5 – Came on very late but made a couple of key defensive stops to prevent Italy’s advances late. However he unluckily missed his penalty as it struck the post.

Jadon Sancho (for Henderson 120′) – 4 – Came on very late to take a penalty. Missed his penalty.