England football fans are daring to dream after the Three Lions made history with a stunning start to this morning’s Euro final against Italy.
England made the perfect start to its Euro 2020 final against Italy, going 1-0 up inside two minutes wth their first foray into enemy territory.
Some slick passing shifted the ball to the right from the halfway line after captain Harry Kane took possession and Kieran Trippier — who returned to the starting line-up after being named on the bench for the semi-final win against Denmark — chipped a clever cross from the corner of the box.
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Luke Shaw was unmarked at the back post and showed tremendous composure to drill a half volley into the back of the net, making history by scoring the fastest ever goal in a Euro final after just one minute and 57 seconds. It was also Shaw’s first international goal.
Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer told Optus Sport it was “absolute madneess” as the match started on a stunning note.
The entire country is already in love with England coach Gareth Southgate for taking the team to a final, and his call to bring Trippier back into the starting XI was looking like a masterstroke as the home crowd at Wembley went wild.
The Three Lions replicated the same attacking move 10 minutes later, Kane distributing to Trippier on the right, but this time his cross couldn’t find a teammate.
Italy was shellshocked by the early goal but slowly started to work is way into the match. Its first real attacking raid saw a nice pass slipped in behind England’s defence but the flag went up for offside.
Raheem Sterling made a probing run after 25 minutes but the final pass let him down on the edge of the era and Italy counter-attacked but was snuffed out by England’s defence.
The Italians started to gain some control in midfield and put the home team’s defence under more pressure but couldn’t land the punch it needed to level the scores.
England wasn’t looking as slick as the match progressed to halftime. Its passing sequences broke down more frequently and there were no chances to extend its lead.
But Southgate’s troops maintained their advantage at the break, going into the sheds needing to hold on for 45 more minutes.
A little under three minutes into the second half, the referee waved away England’s desperate cries for a penalty after Sterling took a tumble inside the box when Leonardo Bonucci and Italian captain Giorgio Chiellini paid him close attention.
England changes its approach before final
Kieran Trippier has been recalled to the England team while Italy are unchanged from their semi-final win on penalties against Spain.
Atletico Madrid full-back Trippier replaces Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka in a change that will see England manager Gareth Southgate revert to the five-man defence that he used in the 2-0 win over Germany in the last 16.
Trippier has since been used off the bench in the wins over Ukraine in the last eight and against Denmark in the semi-final on Wednesday.
England are otherwise unchanged and Harry Kane, who scored the extra-time winner against Denmark, captains a side that is looking to win the country’s first major international tournament since the 1966 World Cup in front of an expected crowd of 67,500.
Italy, who are themselves chasing a first European Championship crown since 1968, go with the same line-up that started against Spain with Emerson Palmieri of Chelsea continuing at left-back in place of the injured Leonardo Spinazzola.
Italy (4-3-3): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (capt), Emerson Palmieri; Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Marco Verratti; Federico Chiesa, Ciro Immobile, Lorenzo Insigne Coach: Roberto Mancini (ITA)
England (5-3-2): Jordan Pickford; Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Mason Mount; Harry Kane (capt), Raheem Sterling Coach: Gareth Southgate (ENG)
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)