Chiellini: Dominant Italy were deserving Euro 2020 winners

By Sports Desk July 11, 2021

Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini insists his side were deserved winners in Sunday's Euro 2020 final against England after dominating from the moment they fell behind.

The Azzurri recovered from Luke Shaw's strike after one minute and 57 seconds – the earliest ever European Championship final goal – to win the competition for a second time.

Leonardo Bonucci levelled up for Italy with 67 minutes played, becoming the oldest scorer in a Euros final, and it was Roberto Mancini's side who prevailed 3-2 on penalties for their sixth major tournament title.

England had just 34.4 per cent of the ball, the Three Lions' lowest figure at Wembley since drawing 2-2 with Spain in November 2016.

Italy also outshot their opponents 19 to six across the 120 minutes and Chiellini felt his side were good value for their famous victory in London.

"We won, I think deservedly," he told RAI Sport. "We felt something magical in the air. We'd been saying it since the start of May and we deserve it, all of Italy deserves it.

"It was an incredible sensation. Thank you to everyone who was part of this group over three years and we dedicate it to all those players who are watching from home too.

"They key was always to play football and enjoy ourselves. We wanted to control the game, to hold possession.

"Despite getting that punch in the face within two minutes, we dominated the rest of the match and wanted it at all costs."

 

Gianluigi Donnarumma was Italy's shoot-out hero with two saves, including the decisive stop from Bukayo Saka's attempt to end the Azzurri's 53-year wait to lift the coveted trophy again.

That is the longest gap between championships in the tournament history, surpassing Spain's 44-year wait from 1964 to 2008.

Donnarumma was mobbed by his team-mates at full-time and was hailed by skipper Chiellini, who compared the 22-year-old to the great Gianluigi Buffon.

"We had Gigione! We've gone from Gigi to Gigio," Chiellini said. "It was right to win this way. We are all so happy and can't wait to celebrate with all the Italians tomorrow."

Italy are the first side in European Championship history to win two shoot-outs in a single edition of the competition, having also gone the distance against Spain in the semi-finals.

It marks an incredible turnaround for the Azzurri, who failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2018 but are now a national record 34 matches without defeat.

Mancini has overseen that long-running streak and was in tears when interviewed at the end of the game at Wembley.

"The lads are marvellous. I don't know what more to say. It's important for all the people and all the fans," Mancini told RAI Sport.

"England did well. We conceded the goal straight away and struggled, but then dominated from there on in.

"We are happy that we played well when winning the game. I hope the supporters are celebrating right now. We're happy now. That's all that matters."

Related items

  • England keep T20 World Cup hopes alive with crushing win over Oman England keep T20 World Cup hopes alive with crushing win over Oman

    England got their much-needed win in stunning fashion as they raced to an eight-wicket victory over Oman inside four overs.

    After a washout stopped their first game against Scotland, England lost to Australia and knew that a defeat on Thursday would see them knocked out of the World Cup.

    Oman just could not get a foothold with only Shoaib Khan able to reach double figures with 11 as England put in a stellar bowling performance.

    Adil Rashid was the standout with his 4-11, but Jofra Archer (3-12) and Mark Wood (3-12) helped to cap the performance as Oman were all out for 47 after 13.2 overs.

    With a target of 48, England came out to bat on a mission, with Phil Salt hitting two sixes on the first two balls before being caught.

    In the end, it would only take them 19 balls to hit their target, with captain Jos Buttler getting an impressive 24 off eight balls, though it was Jonny Bairstow who got the important four to take them to 50-2.

    Data Debrief: England came out on a mission, and smashed it

    Oman's tally of just 47 is the fourth-lowest total a team has managed in a T20 World Cup match, while it also proved to be England's best bowling performance in the competition.

    With 101 balls remaining following England's successful chase, they set a new World Cup record.

  • Nagelsmann urges Germany to beat pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts Nagelsmann urges Germany to beat pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts

    Julian Nagelsmann is confident his side can beat the pressure of being the host nation as they prepare to kick off the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

    The 36-year-old is taking charge of his first major tournament with Germany after taking over from Hansi Flick in September and has lost just one of his eight games since taking over.

    Germany have struggled in recent major tournaments, getting knocked out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16 before crashing out of the 2022 World Cup in the group stages.

    However, Die Mannschaft are aiming to end that run, chasing a fourth European title and their first since 1996, with Nagelsmann confident his team can channel their nervous energy into positive performances.

    "I think we're a bit nervous, but it's an important point, we have to have a certain nervousness," he said. "There was such a buzz [in the camp], a bit like in school. It was really loud: 'Can everyone please calm down a bit!'.

    "I look in our players' eyes and see the belief and will to win. I want us to believe in ourselves: we have great players, good togetherness, home advantage, we've had great training sessions and a good mentality.

    "We have everything: we just have to show it tomorrow, and that's why belief is very important.

    "We can beat pressure, and we can beat Scotland as well."

    Scotland arrive as heavy outsiders and are making just their fourth appearance at the Euros compared to Germany's record 14.

    The Tartan Army qualified second in their group after a strong opening to their campaign, and Nagelsmann praised their performances under Steve Clark.

    "They don't have world stars, but that makes them very dangerous," he added. "They work very hard and have a classic mentality, but it's not a kick and rush team. They can do that, but they can play football.

    "We will have more pressure on us than Scotland, and they will want to capitalise on that."

  • Orlando City v Los Angeles FC: Pareja seeking injection of confidence Orlando City v Los Angeles FC: Pareja seeking injection of confidence

    Oscar Pareja believes it is important for Orlando City to rediscover their self-confidence ahead of Saturday's clash with in-form Los Angeles FC at Inter&Co Stadium.

    The international break means Orlando have been out of action since a 1-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls on June 2, their third straight game without a victory.

    While they sit a lowly 11th in the Eastern Conference standings with 17 points, LAFC are second in the West with 30 points after winning five in a row in MLS play.

    Asked about the value of having time off to reflect on their poor run, Pareja said: "It's important, because with the work we do, the intensity of how we do things is important.

    "We are optimistic after having a refresh when we needed it."

    On the challenge of facing LAFC, the Orlando coach added: "Many teams have challenges with players being away. We are professionals, we expect a team that is playing well.

    "But at the same time, it's a great opportunity for us to play well and raise our confidence, to get the points we need right now." 

    In all competitions, LAFC have won their last six matches without conceding, becoming the first team from MLS to ever accomplish that feat.

    Head coach Steve Cherundolo believes that achievement is the result of a team effort, saying: "I think the team is playing a mature, professional, complete 90 minutes.

    "Some teams have better defensive solutions against us so we don't have quite as many chances, but in every game we are creating chances and we are not giving up many chances.

    "Our collective defending is very good. You're seeing it all come together."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    Orlando City – Nicolas Lodeiro 

    Lodeiro has been involved in nine goals in MLS play against Los Angeles (five goals, four assists, including playoffs). 

    Only Cristian Espinoza (15) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (11) have been involved in more versus them.

    Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga 

    Bouanga scored LAFC's goal in their 1-0 win over FC Dallas last time out on June 1. 

    The goal was Bouanga's 48th in all competitions since the start of last season, 16 more than any other MLS player in that time.

    MATCH PREDICTION – LOS ANGELES FC WIN

    LAFC are unbeaten in four all-time meetings with Orlando (two wins, two draws), though the Lions did eliminate them on penalties from the quarter-finals of MLS is Back in 2020.

    Orlando are winless in their last five home matches, drawing two and losing three while failing to net in each of their last three – they had only previously gone three home matches without netting in their second, third and fourth home MLS games back in 2015.

    LAFC, meanwhile, have won seven successive matches in all competitions, the last six of them to nil. They will fancy their chances of victory, even without home advantage.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Orlando City – 37.7%

    Los Angeles FC – 35.9%  

    Draw – 26.4%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.