Football regulating bodies throughout the world had to take safeguards and follow health protocols to avoid the coronavirus threat. One of the most important decisions was to restrict supporters from entering the stadium. However, European football organizations and other regulating bodies in football had decided to let spectators into the stadium starting with the current season. Therefore, the second half of the year was far more satisfying for both organizers and fans. Let's look at the top ten most notable football incidents from 2021. 2021's Most Notable Football Events There were plenty of amazing football moments in the year 2021. Therefore, picking the top 10 was challenging. Here are the top ten most noteworthy moments in the year 2021. Italy’s second EURO Championship win Italy were the underdog Prior to the EURO 2020, but they steadily improved as the competition progressed. Before facing England in the final, Italy won two closely-contested matches in the quarter-final and semi-final. They defeated Belgium 2-1 in the quarter-finals and then defeated Spain in a penalty shootout. After a 1-1 draw, Italy defeated England 3-2 on penalties in the final. It was Italy's second EURO title and the first since 1968. Read Champions League 2021-2022: PSG to face Real Madrid, Man Utd to face Atletico in the Round of 16 Argentina’s Copa America 2021 win Argentina's 15th Copa America championship came after a 28-year drought. In the meantime, they competed in four finals but lost all of them. The moment had finally come as Lionel Messi's Argentina team won the Copa America 2021, defeating Brazil 1-0 in the final. Chelsea’s Second UEFA Champions League victory When Frank Lampard was sacked in January, Chelsea were nowhere near their best. However, things began to change when Thomas Tuchel was appointed as Chelsea manager. His ideology has been well-taken by the players. Chelsea started to dominate the opposition with their pressing approach, ultimately reaching the Champions League 2021 final. They defeated Manchester City 1-0 in the final to win their second UEFA Champions League trophy. Read Independence Cup Football: Police book first-ever semifinal berth at Sheikh Russel KC’s expense Al Hilal’s AFC Champions League Victory Saudi Arabian team Al Hilal won the 40th edition of the AFC Champions League, Asia's best club competition. They defeated Pohang Steelers of South Korea 2-0 in the final. Al Hilal became the most successful club in AFC Champions League history with this triumph. Palmeiras’ 2021 Copa Libertadores Victory Brazilian team Palmeiras won the Copa Libertadores 2021, Latin America's most prestigious club championship. It was their third championship in the competition's history. USA’s 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Win The United States won the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup in August. The USA acquired its seventh CONCACAF Gold Cup championship, defeating Mexico 1-0 in the final. Read National Football: Rangamati, Bagerhat districts win matches Lionel Messi’s seventh Ballon d’Or win The most talked-about topic of the year was who will win the Ballon d'Or 2021. Lewandowski was the clear favorite in the first half of the year. However, Jorginho of Italy and Lionel Messi of Argentina were considered favorites in the second half because of their national team success. Messi went on to win the trophy, which was his seventh overall. Jorginho’s UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award Italian midfielder Jorginho was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year for his consistent performances for both club and nation. He was the only player to win both the Champions League and the EURO in 2021. Robert Lewandowski’s European Golden Shoe Award Bayern Munich's Polish striker Robert Lewandowski earned the European Golden Shoe Award after scoring 41 goals in the 2020-2021 Bundesliga season. Read Champions League 2021-2022: The Five Best Matches in the Group Stage Robert Lewandowski beats Gerd Muller’s Record Robert Lewandowski has been in outstanding form over the past several seasons, breaking individual records on a regular basis. Gerd Muller's most goals in a single season was one such unique record Lewandowski broke in last season. He scored 41 goals in the season, making him the highest goal scorer in a single Bundesliga season. Aftermath So far, we have discussed the iconic football moments of 2021. A significant number of individual and team records were broken this year. Italy, Argentina, and the United States of America were the most successful nations, winning their respective continental championships in 2021. Italy set a new record for most consecutive victories, while Argentina have gone more than two years without losing. Lionel Messi's record-breaking seventh Ballon d'Or award was the most talked-about topic of the year. On the other hand, Jorginho and Lewandowski were always in the headlines for their consistent performances. Overall, 2021 was an eventful year. Read Ronaldo reaches 800 career goals as United beats Arsenal 3-2
Organizing tournaments in accordance with health guidelines due to the coronavirus was a unique experience for everyone. Nonetheless, there were a number of big sporting events that grabbed the attention of enthusiasts in the year 2021. From the United States' dominance in the 2020 Summer Olympics to Australia's maiden T20 World Cup victory, Italy and Argentina's continental championship victory, Novak Djokovic's record-breaking year, Hideki Matsuyama, the first Asian-born golfer’s Masters trophy win, this article highlights some of the most significant sporting events in 2021. A Look Back at the Noteworthy Moments of the Sports Year 2021 Almost all major athletic events resumed in the first quarter of 2021, following a disappointing year in 2020 because of the covid-19 epidemic. Some of the events that were scheduled for 2020 were pushed back to 2021. Summer Olympics 2020 in Japan, Euro 2020, and Copa America 2020 are among them. Initially, many sports events were held behind closed doors, which meant that no spectators were permitted inside the stadium. The covid-19 regulations provided a fresh experience for everyone, especially the players. Here are some of the year's most noteworthy sporting events. Read Expected personal milestones to achieve in the Upcoming NZ vs BAN Test Series 2022 Summer Olympics 2020: The United States maintained its dominance The 2020 Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Games were the most expensive ever, costing more than $20 billion in total. The competition drew 11,656 athletes from 206 countries. The tournament featured 33 sporting events. Like in previous editions, the United States maintained its dominance in the competition. The United States of America took home most of the 113 medals, with 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze. China placed second in the overall rankings with 88 medals. They took home 38 gold medals, 32 silver medals, and 18 bronze medals. Burkina Faso, San Marino, and Turkmenistan all won their first-ever Olympic medals in this event. Marcell Jacobs of Italy won the most popular Olympic 100m sprint with a time of 9.80 seconds. He made history by being the first Italian to win a gold medal in the event. Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica won the Women's 100 meters with an Olympic-record time of 10.61 seconds. Read Root: England's best option is to make brave calls Tokyo also hosted the 2020 Summer Paralympics two weeks later. The tournament drew 4,403 participants from 162 countries. China won the most medals with 207, followed by the United Kingdom with 124 and the United States with 104.
There is currently no one-off match competition in international football. However, the European Football Associations and the South American Football Organizations have agreed to hold a competition between the continental champions. As a result, the winners of the Copa America 2021 and the UEFA EURO 2020 champions will meet in a championship match next year. The match will take place in June 2022 if all goes as planned. The initial details of Argentina vs. Italy Super Cup match are discussed in this article. Read:South America World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: Argentina, Brazil to face Uruguay in October The Preliminary Specifics of Argentina vs. Italy Super Cup match On September 28, UEFA announced its agreement with the South American football organization to hold a competition between the two continental champions. Since Italy won the Euro 2020 and Argentina won the Copa America 2021, they will face off in the inaugural edition of the competition in June 2022. However, the venue and the date of the match have yet to be announced. UEFA stated in a media release that the two organizations' agreement presently covers three editions of this match between their respective continental winners, as well as the establishment of a joint office in London to manage projects of mutual interest. Women's football, futsal, junior categories, referee exchanges, and technical training programs will be incorporated into the partnership between the two continental bodies. Read:Ballon d'Or 2021: Five favorites to win the coveted award Argentina vs. Italy Super Cup: Who is favorite to win the Match? Argentina and Italy are two of the most powerful football nations in the world. They have faced off 15 times in a head-to-head contest. Italy have won five games, four by Argentina, and four have finished in a draw. In their last meeting, Argentina won 2-0 in a friendly match against Italy in 2018 at Manchester's Etihad Stadium. Argentina have won 17 major international tournaments, including two World Cups (1978 and 1986). On the other hand, Italy have won six major titles, including four World Cups (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006). Read:Barcelona coach Koeman says rumors of firing 'probably true' Argentina won the Copa America for the first time in 28 years last July, defeating Brazil in the final by a score of 1-0. Prior to this tournament, Argentina had won the Copa America in 1993. On the other hand, last July, Italy won the UEFA EURO 2020 tournament for the second time, overcoming England in the final on penalties. Italy won its first European Championship in 1968. Considering the overall strength of both teams, it can be predicted that Italy is going to dominate Argentina. Though Italy have some of the finest players in the world, Argentina have great team chemistry. Argentina's team is capable of thriving against any opponent despite its lack of quality in the squad. However, the Super Cup will be a one-off contest, thus the team that performs best on the day will likely be the winner. Read:Man Utd vs. Villarreal: Cristiano Ronaldo’s late goal gives Manchester United a dramatic win Bottom Line The details of the inaugural edition of the competition between the two continental champions will be announced later by UEFA and CONMEBOL. According to some sources, Argentina vs. Italy Super Cup match will be named after football legend Diego Armando Maradona. The main purpose of this match is to enhance the tie between the two continental boards. Because no other team has won the World Cup outside of these two continents. Many believe that the actual motive for this movement is to form a powerful ally against FIFA. Because FIFA prefers to have World Cup tournaments every two years, but UEFA and CONMEBOL are both opposed to the idea.
We are all familiar with a one-off contest between the champions at the club level. However, international football does not have such a competition, with the exception of the confederations cup, which is contested every four years. A 'Super Cup' between the Copa America 2021 and UEFA EURO 2020 winners is now being proposed. If all goes according to plan, we may see a match between South America and European football champions later this year. The Maradona Super Cup would be the name of the trophy. The Prediction of the one-off tie between Argentina vs. Italy is discussed in this article. Argentina vs. Italy: Who is favorite to win Maradona Super Cup? Argentina and Italy are two of the world's football superpowers. So, they always enter any competition as title contenders. Argentina have won 17 major trophies at the international level, including two World Cups (1978 and 1986). On the other side, Italy, have won six major trophies, including four World Cups (1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006). Argentina and Italy have met each other 15 times in a head-to-head battle. Italy have won five times, Argentina have won four times, and four games have ended in a tie. Argentina haven't lost a match against Italy since 1987. Read:Ballon d'Or 2021 Predictions: Lionel Messi in Pole Position to Win the Coveted Award They have met five times in the World Cup. Argentina won a match against Italy at the 1990 World Cup, while Italy have won two matches against Argentina. In their last meeting on March 23, 2018, Argentina defeated Italy 2-0 in a friendly match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Argentina have won the South American Championship for the first time in 28 years, beating Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America 2021 final. Argentina had previously won the Copa America in 1993. Argentina appeared in five finals despite failing to win a trophy in the previous three decades, including four Copa America (2004, 2007, 2015, and 2016) and the 2014 World Cup. Read:Euro 2020: Police investigate racist abuse of 3 England footballers On the other side, Italy have won the European Championship for the second time after defeating England in a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 final. Italy won its first European Championship in the year 1968. Aside from that, the Italian national team were having a difficult time following their 2006 World Cup victory. They have gained a lot of confidence after winning a major tournament for the first time in 15 years. Given the overall strength of the two squads, Italy will edge over Argentina. Because Italy have some of the best footballers in the world while Argentine have a fantastic team understanding. Led by Messi, the relatively less talented Argentina team is capable of flourishing against any opponent. Read:EURO 2020 Final: Italy Seal European Football Championship Because the Maradona Super Cup will be a one-off affair, the side that can perform at its best on any given day will be crowned champion. The ideal playing XI for both teams if the match is held in the near future. Probable Starting XI (Argentina) Emiliano Martinez (GK), Molina, Pezzella, Tagilafico, Romero, Rodríguez, Paredes, Di María, Gómez, Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez Probable Starting XI (Italy) Donnarumma (GK), Di Lorenzo, Spinazzola, Chiellini, Bonucci, Jorginho, Barella, Verratti, Chiesa, Insigne, Immobile Read:Racist abuse targets 3 English players who missed penalties Verdict In honor of the late football legend Diego Armando Maradona, the proposed Maradona Super Cup between Argentina and Italy will most likely be held in the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples. The associations of European Football and South American Football are already in talks to arrange a date for the showdown between the Copa America 2021 and UEFA EURO 2020 champions. Italy will be a strong candidate to win the one-off contest as they have a more balanced squad than Argentina. However, Lionel Messi's Argentina will do everything to win the tie as a homage to Diego Maradona. It will definitely be a fascinating contest. Read Copa America 2021 Final: Di Maria’s Early Strike Sinks Brazil
As the Three Lions endured a heartbreaking defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final Sunday in the penalty shootout, three coloured players – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – were subjected to racist abuse. The British police opened investigations today to find out the perpetrators. The Metropolitan Police condemned this "unacceptable" abuse and said they will be investigating the "offensive and racist" social media posts published soon after Italy won Sunday's shootout 3-2 following a 1-1 draw. A mural of Rashford on the wall of a cafe in south Manchester was also defaced with graffiti in the wake of the match. READ: EURO 2020 Final: Italy Seal European Football Championship The racist abuse, which was condemned as "unforgivable" by England coach Gareth Southgate, has led to calls for social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, to do more in hunting down the perpetrators of the abuse. All three players targeted are part of a young England squad that has been widely praised for its diversity and social conscience. Rashford has been at the forefront of a campaign against child poverty, which convinced the British government to restore free lunches for thousands of poor children amid the coronavirus pandemic. "We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together, in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue," Southgate said. Prince William, the president of the English Football Association, condemned the abuse saying he was "sickened" by the racism aimed at the England players. "It is unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour," he wrote on Twitter. "It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable." The English Football Association said it will give the players affected what support it can and will press on authorities for the "toughest punishments possible" for anyone found to have been responsible for the abuse. "We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore the government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences," it said. READ: Racist abuse targets 3 English players who missed penalties Social media companies, it added, need to "step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms" to ensure that their platforms are "free from this type of abhorrent abuse." Twitter said the "abhorrent racist abuse" has no place on its platform, adding it removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended several accounts for violating its rules.
Italy won the UEFA EURO 2020 final after beating England in a penalty shootout at the wembley Stadium in London on Sunday (11th July). England dominated the first half of the play after establishing an early lead in the game. Italy fought back in the second half and scored within 25 minutes. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with no goals scored in extra time. The winner was decided in a penalty shootout. Italy triumphed 3-2 in a penalty shootout and clinched their second European Championship. The match report of the EURO 2020 final is discussed in this article. EURO 2020 Final Match Report: Italy vs. England Italy won the European football championship for the first time in 53 years. The match finished at 1-1 after 120 minutes of play. Italian players kept their nerve during the penalty shootout and won 3-2 over England on Sunday’s final at the iconic Wembley stadium. Read Read:Racist abuse targets 3 English players who missed penalties Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was the final match's hero, who saved two penalties in the shootout. Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho both missed penalty kicks, while Marcus Rashford's shot struck the post. On the other side, English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved penalty kicks from Belotti and Jorginho. However, Berardi, Bonucci, and Bernardeschi all scored from the penalty spot and helped Italy to win their second European Championship after 1968. England scored the match's first goal in the second minute. English left-back Luke Shaw became the fifth fastest scorer in European Championship history when he smashed the ball into the back of the net in one minute and 57 seconds. Read:Italy wins Euro 2020, beats England in penalty shootout England performed well for most of the first half even after taking a 1-0 lead early in the game. However, Italy fought back and continued to push the English defense in the second half. Leonardo Bonucci eventually equalized in the 67th minute to cut the lead. The match was thereafter dominated by Italy till the end, including extra time. They came close to scoring the second goal at least twice, but couldn't find another to secure the victory. Clear chances were scarce as the game moved closer to penalties. The referee issued six yellow cards in the EURO 2020 final. Italy had the most yellow cards with five, while England received only one. Read:England, Italy set for thrilling EURO 2020 showdown on Sunday With this victory, Italy have now won 34 games in a row under head coach Roberto Mancini.Italian fans were disappointed when their team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. So, the Euro 2020 victory will be crucial in their football revival. Germany and Spain have won the European Championship thrice out of a total of 16 times. Both Italy and France have won the tournament twice. The one-time champions are the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, and Greece. Read:Euro 2020 final: Italy holds historical edge over England Bottom Line England and Italy had a really intriguing battle in the EURO 2020 final. Italy's coach Roberto Mancini outsmarts England's Gareth Southgate in the case of a tactical decision and the best team eventually win the championship. The real hero of the final was Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Italy crowned European Champion thanks to his good work in the penalty shootout. Donnarumma became the first goalkeeper to win the player of the tournament award. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo was named best scorer, while Spain's Pedri was named young player of the tournament. Read Copa America 2021 Final: Di Maria’s Early Strike Sinks Brazil
Three players who missed penalty kicks for England in the decisive European Championship shootout against Italy on Sunday night were subjected to racist abuse online, prompting the English Football Association to issue a statement condemning the language used against the players. Bukayo Saka, at 19 one of the youngest players on the England squad, missed the penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England its first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup. Read: Italy wins Euro 2020, beats England in penalty shootout It was England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also missing. The FA said in a statement it was “appalled” by the abuse of the three players. The team had taken a knee before games at the Euros to signal its support for an end to racial inequality, and the young, multi-ethnic squad won the hearts of the soccer-mad country before the shootout failure brought out all-too-familiar messages of hate. “We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible,” the FA statement said. “We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real-life consequences.” London’s Metropolitan Police also said it was investigating “offensive and racist” messages on social media. Read: England, Italy set for thrilling EURO 2020 showdown on Sunday Rashford, who plays for Manchester United, noted the racial abuse he received on social media in May after the team lost the Europa League final. England coach Gareth Southgate was criticized for his strategy of bringing in Rashford and Sancho off the bench to take penalties while star Raheem Sterling was sidelined in the shootout. “They were the best takers we had left on the pitch,” Southgate said. “We win and lose together.” Read: Italy vs England Final: EURO 2020 Match Preview
Italian soccer’s redemption story is complete. England’s painful half-century wait for a major title goes on. And it just had to be because of a penalty shootout. Read: Italy vs England Final: EURO 2020 Match Preview Italy won the European Championship for the second time by beating England 3-2 on penalties on Sunday. The match finished 1-1 after extra time at Wembley Stadium, which was filled mostly with English fans hoping to celebrate the team’s first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup. “It’s coming to Rome. It’s coming to Rome,” Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci shouted into a TV camera amid the celebrations, mocking the famous lyric “it’s coming home” from the England team’s anthem. For England, it was utter dejection again — they know the feeling so well when it comes to penalties — after Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy’s imposing goalkeeper, dived to his left and saved the decisive spot kick by 19-year-old Londoner Bukayo Saka, one of the youngest players in England’s squad. That was England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho — players brought on late in extra time seemingly as specialist penalty-takers — also missing. Read: England, Italy set for thrilling EURO 2020 showdown on Sunday As Saka and Sancho cried, Donnarumma was mobbed by his teammates as they sprinted toward him from the halfway line at the end of the second penalty shootout in a European Championship final. Then Italy’s jubilant players headed to the other end of the field and ran as one, diving to the ground in front of the Italian fans who have witnessed a rebirth of their national team. It was less than four years ago that Italy plunged to the lowest moment of its soccer history by failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in six decades. Now, they are the best team in Europe and on a national-record 34-match unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini, their suave coach who has won an international trophy in his first attempt to add to the country’s other European title — in 1968 — and its four World Cups. Mancini joined his players on the podium as Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini lifted the Henri Delaunay trophy to the backdrop of fireworks and tickertape. “It was impossible even to just consider this at one stage,” Mancini said, “but the guys were just amazing. I have no words for them.” For England, it’s the latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012. They ended that losing streak by beating Colombia on penalties in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, but the pain has quickly returned. “The boys couldn’t have given more,” England captain Harry Kane said. “Penalties are the worst feeling in the world when you lose. It’s been a fantastic tournament — we should be proud, hold our heads up high. It’s going to hurt now, it’s going to hurt for a while.” Read: Euro 2020 final: Italy holds historical edge over England England’s first major final in 55 years had all started so well, too, with Luke Shaw scoring the fastest goal in a European Championship final by meeting a cross from opposite wing back Kieran Trippier with a half-volley that went in off the post in the second minute. It was Shaw’s first goal for England and it prompted a fist-pump between David Beckham and Tom Cruise in the VIP box amid an explosion of joy around Wembley, which had at least 67,000 fans inside. Maybe more, given dozens of ticketless England fans managed to barge their way past stewards and police and into the stadium in unsettling scenes before kickoff. That was the only time Italy’s famously robust defense was really opened up in the entire 120 minutes. Indeed, after Shaw’s goal, England barely saw the ball for the rest of the game. Italy’s midfielders dominated possession, as widely predicted before the match, and England simply resorted to dropping deep and getting nine or even all 10 outfield players behind the ball. It was reminiscent of the 2018 World Cup semifinals, when England also scored early against Croatia then spent most of the game chasing its opponent’s midfield before losing in extra time. Italy’s equalizer was merited and Bonucci was the unlikely scorer. He put the ball in from close range after a right-wing corner was flicked on to Marco Verratti, whose stooping header was tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. England managed to hold on for extra time — the way three of the last six European finals went — and actually had the better of the final stages. Just not the shootout, again. After the misses of Rashford — he stuttered up to the ball and then hit the post — and Sancho, whose shot was saved by Donnarumma again down to his left, Jorginho had the chance to win it for Italy. Incredibly, the midfielder who converted the decisive penalty in a shootout win over Spain in the semifinals also failed to score as Pickford tipped the effort off the post. It was Donnarumma who then made the crucial saves and within minutes he had also been named player of the tournament, the first goalkeeper to be so honored. So instead of coming home, the trophy is headed to Rome. “We’d heard it day in, day out from Wednesday night — we heard it would be coming home to London,” Bonucci said. “I’m sorry for them, but the cup will be taking a nice flight, making its way to Rome so Italians all over the world can savor this.”
England and Italy are set to face off on Sunday to be crowned the best in European football at London's iconic Wembley Stadium. Italy are looking forward to win their first European title after 53 years when they beat Yugoslavia (1-1 and 2-0) in the EURO 1968 final, Anadolu Agency reported. They then lost two finals in European Championships, a 2-1 loss to France in EURO 2000 and a 4-0 defeat to Spain in EURO 2012. The Azzurri's defeat to Spain in EURO 2012 final is the biggest margin of defeat in a European Championship final. With four final matches at the European Championships, they are now tied with Spain and the Soviet Union for second place behind Germany, which appeared in six finals. Also read: Brazil and Argentina clash in a soccer final for 5th time Roberto Mancini's side topped Group A by beating Turkey and Switzerland 3-0, and sealing a 1-0 victory against Wales. Following the group stage, they beat Austria in the last 16 and Belgium 2-1 in the quarterfinals, moving to the final after defeating Spain on penalties in the semifinals. They conceded three goals, while Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Insigne and Matteo Pessina scored two goals each. According to Anadolu Agency, the historic EURO 2020 game with 60,000 spectators will be the Three Lions' first-ever final in the European Championship, and their first final appearance in a major tournament since claiming the 1966 World Cup title. England won only two of their last 14 games against Italy in all competitions, 2-0 in June 1997 and 2-1 in August 2013 – both friendly matches. However, in the 1977 World Cup qualification, the English team won against Italy 2-0 – the only victory in eight competitive games during the tournament. Also read: Copa America 2021: Lionel Messi vs Neymar da Silva They are unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions, keeping 10 clean sheets and conceding just two goals. Collecting seven points, England won Group D in the EURO 2020 ahead of Croatia, Czech Republic, and Scotland. The Three Lions reached the final, eliminating Germany, Ukraine, and Denmark, respectively, conceding just one goal following the conclusion of the group stage. Only three nations have ever lifted the Euros title on home ground – Spain (1964), Italy (1968), and France (1984). Portugal (2004) and France (2016) made it to the final, but lost. The match will be officiated by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers. The 48-year-old was also the referee in the 2014 World Cup's group stage match when England suffered a 2-1 defeat to Italy.
All the years of hurt, England fans sing about it. All that sense of entitlement, rival fans are irritated by it. After decades of embarrassment and moaning at tournaments, the English have a chance to finally back up the bravado — just listen to the team anthem, “Football’s Coming Home” — with a trophy. The nation that lays claim to being the inventor of soccer, but is more fittingly one of the sport’s great underachievers, is back in a final — against Italy in the European Championships. Read:Italy beats Spain on penalties, reaches Euro 2020 final The teams will meet Sunday night at Wembley Stadium in London where England will be going for its first major title since winning the 1966 World Cup on their home field. The Italians are unbeaten in 33 games. It’s been 55 agonizing years for England through 26 World Cups and European Championship tournaments, seven of which they didn’t even qualify for. Even less illustrious national teams like Denmark and Greece have won trophies since then. But England became all about falling short on a world stage it felt it should dominate. Beating Denmark on Wednesday broke through the semifinal obstacle at least in the Euros, prevailing 2-1 in extra time and avoiding the penalty shootouts that have proved to be the team’s nemesis through all those near-misses. “What a brilliant moment for us,” England coach Gareth Southgate said on the field with fans still singing into the night at Wembley. Let’s savior this.” No way were the England players missing out on the chance to lap up the acclaim of a crowd waiting for this healing moment, not only to reach a final again but to gather in such big numbers again as the pandemic-restricted capacity swelled to 66,000. “It’s too late,” Southgate quipped discussing any attempt to curtail the exuberance. “We all let ourselves down on the pitch.” The celebrations were a reflection of the bond the coach has forged between the national team and an English public that seemed disillusioned with the hubris and dreary performances before Southgate’s overhaul began in 2016. Read:Longtime tormentor Italy stands in way of Spain at Euro 2020 Leading England to a final is proving cathartic for the coach who as a player missed the decisive penalty in the Euro ’96 semifinal penalty shootout against Germany. It was that tournament that saw the introduction of the England “Three Lions” song talking of “30 years of hurt.” It’s never easy for England. Even when the path to the Euro 2020 semifinals seemed smooth — even the 2-0 win over archrival Germany — Southgate was prepared for difficulties against Denmark, especially after losing the 2018 World Cup semifinal to Croatia and being beaten in the 2019 Nations League last four by the Netherlands. “I knew it might be a tortuous path,” Southgate said. “In the end it’s a wonderful evening for our fans, for our public and for our country.” Southgate sees his role as more delivering for a nation, assuming leadership status beyond sport when he talked about unity during the divisive Brexit debate and now encourages the players to use their platforms to promote social causes and campaign against racism. Southgate is more than just an orator, though. Only 1966 Word Cup winner Alf Ramsey has been a more successful coach of England. The expensive imports at the start of the century — Sven-Göran Eriksson and Fabio Capello — could get no further than quarterfinals. Instead, a manager whose only club job ended in 2009 with relegation from the Premier League with Middlesbrough has led England to a final. For all his popular support — “Southgate you’re the one,” fans sing — he resists pandering to fans’ demands of selecting players. National hero Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United striker who has won acclaim for challenging the government, didn’t even come off the bench for the biggest game of his career. He ignored calls to drop Raheem Sterling at the start of Euro 2020 and has been rewarded with three goals from the winger who also forced the own-goal that tied the game 1-all against Denmark. Southgate stayed calm as England held on, only making only substitution when five were available to him in the 90 minutes before extra time. Read:Euro2020 semi-finalists have been determined “The opposition were constantly changing tactics,” Southgate said. “Sometimes it is bolder to do nothing ... the risk is you don’t do anything, it goes against you but we were causing problems.” Problems in a way that England has not done for decades. “It’s one of the proudest moments in my life,” said captain Harry Kane, who netted the winner from a rebound after his penalty was saved. “But we haven’t won it yet, we’ve got one more to go.”