By Muhammad Muzdaleefa
The Euro 2020 Cup ended in Italian hands after the Azzurri defeated England at Wembley Stadium. What a journey it has been. The winning team has shown us that it is not what happens to you but rather how you react to it that matters. Some fall and stay down there; others fall and dust themselves off and rebuild.
No doubt, it was a hotly contested final. Southgate’s team had got off to an impressive start with Luke Shaw’s goal after just two minutes. But the Italians equalised in the 67th minute through Leonardo Bonucci. After much anticipation, England’s dream was shattered as Italy won the match in penalty kicks. One thing is for sure; this loss will be seared into the national consciousness of English people for generations to come. It was simply nothing like it as a nation that treasures soccer fell in one of the most crucial matches in its football history.
The performance of both sides from the beginning of the tournament to the end was quite impressive. However, the defeat will remain a footnote. Few will remember that England played well, but many will recall that Italy won the final at the Wembley Stadium. The final was a great feat for Italian team manager Roberto Mancini. A man who attracted a lot of scepticism when he took over the reins of a team in a state of utter disrepair is the one who has masterminded its return to the top of European football and possibly world football. He did it silently and always with the smile and assured confidence of a stoic.
The coaching philosophy of both Mancini and Southgate must be saluted. The philosophy is that excellence can be achieved through hard work, which explains why they gave chances to their players as long as they are willing to put in the work and the stamina—everybody in their squad matters. As a result, many great players will surely emerge from both sides.
For now, Italy has conquered Europe and a big congratulations to the Azzurris for this important milestone.
Muhammad Muzdaleefa wrote from Kaduna. He can be reached via email@example.com.