In the final match of the UEFA European Football Championship, Italy defeated England on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regular and extra time. Kommersant asked football experts and spectators about their impressions of the match.
Alexander Tarkhanov, Master of Sports of the USSR, Honored Coach of Russia:
Photo: Dmitry Korotaev, Kommersant
– Excellent validol ending of the championship. The Italians started tensely, and the goal was quickly conceded and in general the first half was mainly in favor of the British, they owned the initiative. We must pay tribute, already in the first half, the Italians rebuilt, began to carry out attacks, although there were no aggravating situations for a long time. But then they managed to score, and they did it very well, in the fight! And the British, after their goal, began to act rationally, gave up the initiative. Kane and Sterling were not noticeable, other players came on as replacements, but they could not change the game either. Italy in the championship was progressively moving towards the result, but in this game it was not so convincing, there was a lot of struggle, and the quality of the game was not very good. There was tension, everyone was afraid to lose, everyone tried to do the main thing – to quickly return to defense. There were very few gaps in defense and counterattacks. Well, then a penalty kick. The goalkeepers tried, Donnarumma was more fortunate.
Alexander Zhukov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma:
Photo: Dmitry Dukhanin, Kommersant
– It was an exciting European Championship final, which did not let go of the attention until the very last second. Perhaps the goal scored in the first minutes of the match did not go to the advantage of the British – they gave up the initiative and eventually conceded the return goal. In that moment, the Italian national team veteran Bonucci played excellently, who, by the way, confidently scored later in the penalty shootout. In the end, both goalkeepers performed well, but Donnarumma was more convincing. Overall, it was a great match between two teams worthy of the title!
Haji Hajiyev, honored coach of Russia:
Photo: Dmitry Korotaev, Kommersant
– The current Euro differed not only in the format when the teams had to travel from country to country, but also in the equality of a significant number of teams. We saw this in the quarterfinals, when extra time was often required, it was the same in the semi-finals and in the final, when everything was decided with the last blow in the penalty shootout. Fortune smiled on the Italians, but it’s not just fortune. The Italian national team unsuccessfully started the match and as a result of serious mistakes quickly conceded a goal. Until about the 15th minute, the superiority of the British was noticeable, they were close to scoring more. But then, due to active, mobile play, hard pressure, including in the opponent’s half of the field, the Italians seized the initiative and scored their own goal. This forced the British to rebuild, they began to play not three, but two central defenders. This, by the way, is also one of the distinguishing features of the championship, a significant number of teams played three central defenders, which was rarely observed at the previous European Championships. The perestroika gave little to the British, the match came to a penalty kick, where the Italians were lucky. A worthy match! Viva Italy!
Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation:
Photo: Evgeniya Yablonskaya, Kommersant
– The final turned out to be not boring, an absolutely shocking start, when the British scored a goal in the second minute. At this moment, many doubted that the final would be interesting, since everyone knows how the British know how to close. But the Italian national team showed that they know how to win decisive matches. The team did not give up, and at some point it became clear that the British were thinking more about how not to lose, and not how to win. This feeling did not leave even in extra time. The Italians were more relaxed and strong in spirit, while the British were more worried. In the penalty shootout, nervousness did its job, and the Italian goalkeeper played better. I also note that the Italians played their role competent substitutions. Released at the very end of regular time instead of the injured Chiesa Bernardeschi, he scored a decisive penalty, and Berardi, who replaced Immobile, also scored. The role of Italian coaches in this match is noticeable, and in general Mancini, Viali and the entire coaching staff of the Italian national team can be proud of this championship. Although everything was decided, of course, by the players on the field.
Valery Gladilin, international master of sports, three-time silver medalist of the USSR championships, honored football coach of Russia:
Photo: Vladimir Fedorenko / RIA Novosti
– The final of the worthy teams turned out splendid! The first half looked better than the English team. They used the moment brilliantly, taking advantage of the positional error of the Italians. True, after that we tried to play to keep the result, not to risk it again. This was also felt psychologically, and the line of defense did not come out ahead once again. England, as a professional team, played for the result. Strictly and clearly played on the defensive, so as not to miss into their own goal, than to score more to the opponent. And the Italians had nowhere to go, and they went for broke. In the second half, Mancini successfully made two substitutions for strengthening and achieved an advantage: the Italians took the initiative and evened the score using the standard. In extra time, the teams played very carefully, minimizing the risk. Although Chiellini was one step away from receiving a red card, receiving a yellow one. If there was a deletion, the match could have gone according to a different scenario. But after the previous scandals, the judges became very careful with the removal. As a coach, I would like to note that two central Italian defenders – the real backbone of the team – coped with fast English strikers, came out ahead, and Bonucci scored a goal! Sterling had an outstanding championship for the British. I think that when summing up the results it will be recognized as at least one of the best. He tried in this match too, but failed. The goalkeepers deserve the highest praise. The match ended with a lottery, where their goalkeeper flair played the main role. Donnarumma saved Italy three times – this rarely happens. True, in one of them the English post at Wembley played for the Italian national team. Apparently, the football god was on the side of Italy. Probably, he considered it unfair and the penalty awarded in the semifinals in favor of England, and appreciated the will and character of the Italians, who fought and proved themselves to be a real team playing high-quality attacking football.
Alexander Mostovoy, former midfielder of the USSR and Russian national football teams:
Photo: Dmitry Lebedev, Kommersant
– Everything happened, as predicted before the match: a draw in regular and extra time and a penalty kick. Of course, Italy has deservedly become the champion. I will not say that the British did not deserve this, since both teams were worthy of victory. Each team had moments to turn the outcome of the meeting in their favor. And these moments made the fans of both teams worry. Most of our people were rooting for Italy.
After a goal unique for the final in the second minute, England tried to dry up the game and paid for it. They played for another fifteen minutes, and then went into a deep defense. And in the second half, the Italians beat them in all respects. And on the penalty kick, Southgate released young guys who almost did not play at the European Championship 2020. He throws them into hell, and they lose. Of course, this is a mistake or at least a controversial decision of the coach.
And Mancini is crying – Italy has become the champion!