Italy defeated England on penalties at Wembley on Sunday to win Euro 2020 and end a 53-year wait for the title.
AFP Sport picks out some of the key moments from the month-long tournament held across the continent:
Damsgaard gets Denmark up and running
Brought into the team as the replacement for Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening game against Finland, Mikkel Damsgaard set the tone for the Danes’ run to the semi-finals.
After starting their campaign with successive defeats and suffering the shock of seeing their star player need to be revived on the pitch, Damsgaard’s brilliant long-range strike against Russia put Kasper Hjulmand’s men ahead. They went on to win 4-1 to reach the knockout stage, only exiting the tournament after an extra-time defeat by England in the semi-finals.
Mbappe’s penalty miss knocks out France
The hero of France’s 2018 World Cup triumph, Kylian Mbappe became the fall guy at Euro 2020 as they crashed out to Switzerland in the last 16 on penalties. The Paris Saint-Germain forward failed to score in four matches at the tournament, and was the only player to miss in the shootout as Yann Sommer repelled his effort.
In truth, the loss was a collective failure as France allowed Switzerland to come back from 3-1 down in the last 10 minutes. “I’m very sorry about the penalty. I wanted to help the team but I failed,” Mbappe wrote on Twitter, saying it was “very difficult to move on”.
Ronaldo equals all-time international goals record
Seventeen years after his first Portugal goal in the opening game of Euro 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo matched former Iran striker Ali Daei’s all-time international scoring record with a pair of penalties against France. The 36-year-old Ronaldo, the leading scorer in European Championship history, netted his 109th goal for his country in his 178th international appearance.
Ronaldo is the first player to appear at five editions of the tournament scored five times in the group stage before Portugal lost to Belgium in the last 16. The Juventus striker has 14 European Championship goals, five more than French great Michel Platini, who struck nine times when he led France to glory in 1984. He also won the Golden Boot for the first time at a major tournament.
Schick wonder-strike stuns Scots
Scotland went into their opening game against the Czech Republic at Hampden Park full of optimism ahead of their first major tournament match since 1998. But Patrik Schick, who had earlier headed in the opener, produced one of the European Championship’s all-time greatest goals to secure the Czechs a 2-0 win.
The Bayer Leverkusen striker spotted Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and launched a curling lob from almost 50m into the net. Schick went on to finish level with Ronaldo as the tournament’s top-scorer with five goals.
Chiesa rescues Italy
Roberto Mancini’s men cruised through the group stage, winning all three games while scoring seven goals without conceding. But the last 16 proved to be a much tougher test, with Austria pushing them into extra time at Wembley.
The Azzurri had already survived a scare when Austria’s Marko Arnautovic saw a goal ruled out by VAR for offside, before Chiesa struck in the 95th minute. An excellent piece of control on his chest was followed by a clever touch to tee up a thumping left-footed strike from a tight angle. Italy went on to win 2-1 en route to the title.
England fall on penalties, again
Fifty-five years after their last major final, England’s tournament ended in all-too-familiar heartache as they were beaten on penalties at Wembley. Marcus Rashford hit the post before Jadon Sancho, who like Rashford was brought on to take a spot-kick, saw his attempt saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Jordan Pickford kept England’s hopes alive by denying Jorginho, but 19-year-old Bukayo Saka was left distraught as Donnarumma turned away his effort to secure victory for Italy.
Despite their rare triumph against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup, England have now lost seven of nine shoot-outs at major tournaments.