England fans booing anthem inspired Italy players – Bonucci

By Sports Desk July 13, 2021

Leonardo Bonucci claimed the booing of the Italian national anthem by England fans helped to inspire the Azzurri to Euro 2020 glory.

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties in Sunday's final at Wembley after the match had finished 1-1 following extra time.

Bonucci, who equalised to cancel out Luke Shaw's opener – the quickest goal ever scored in a European Championship final – and then converted his spot-kick in the shoot-out, was a rock at the heart of Italy's defence throughout the tournament.

No defender made more interceptions at Euro 2020 than Bonucci, whose tally of 12 tied him with Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko.

Several incidents occurred outside the ground on Sunday, with groups of supporters without tickets managing to force entry into Wembley.

With an already tense atmosphere perhaps not aided by these scenes, boos rang around the stadium during the Italian anthem.

Bonucci, though, said the jeers only helped lift Roberto Mancini's team and, in particular, his defensive partner Giorgio Chiellini.

"They whistled the anthem. They thought they had brought it home," Bonucci told Radio RAI 1.

"This, to me and the old man there [Chiellini] did nothing but increase our motivation. It was a personal satisfaction for me and Giorgio, who have not always been getting the praise we deserved."

 

Italy paraded the trophy in an open-top bus tour on Monday and Bonucci dedicated the win to those who had lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic, with Italy one of the worst-hit nations in Europe.

He also paid tribute to Azzurri legend Paolo Rossi, who died from lung cancer in December last year.

"The dedication goes to those who left us in this year and a half," he added.

"Among so many champions, as done for Davide Astori, I want to make a special dedication to Paolo Rossi, a great man.

"The cup is for him and the Italians who have suffered."

Gianluigi Donnarumma ultimately proved Italy's hero in London, as he kept out Bukayo Saka's penalty to seal victory.

Had the England youngster scored, the shoot-out would have gone to sudden death, with Jordan Pickford having previously denied Jorginho.

However, the midfielder joked that his miss was a deliberate ploy to enable Donnarumma – named UEFA's Player of the Tournament – would get the glory.

"It was all planned. I knew that Donnarumma would have saved it," Jorginho quipped in an interview with SportTV. 

"I always give everything I have for the team, but unfortunately, sometimes it's not enough.

"I ended up missing the penalty, and in that moment the world collapsed around me, because I wanted to hand Italy the win. Luckily, we have this phenomenon in goal that saved me."

The 719 minutes racked up by Donnarumma was the most by any player at Euro 2020; he missed only the closing stages of Italy's win against Wales in the group stage and also helped the Azzurri to a penalty shoot-out win over Spain in the semi-finals.

In fact, of the five shoot-outs he has been involved in so far in his career for club and country, Donnarumma – who is set to join Paris Saint-Germain – has always finished on the winning side.

Related items

  • PSG's Pochettino understands Angers frustration after contentious Mbappe penalty PSG's Pochettino understands Angers frustration after contentious Mbappe penalty

    Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said he understood Angers' frustration after a controversial late penalty gave the Ligue 1 leaders a 2-1 victory.

    PSG trailed following Angelo Fulgini's 36th-minute opener before Danilo Pereira's header, their first shot on target, levelled matters on Friday.

    It looked as if they would have to settle for a share of the spoils, but PSG were awarded a penalty after a VAR check for handball against Pierrick Capelle.

    Kylian Mbappe swept home from 12 yards in the 87th minute, with Angers left to fume.

    Romain Thomas felt he was fouled by PSG forward Mauro Icardi in the lead-up to the penalty incident.

    He told Prime Video: "It's incredible what's happened.

    "Losing 2-1 at the end, losing here isn't shameful, but [to lose] like that... no, it's not possible.

    "We worked all week to do something properly and the referees can't take the time to do theirs.

    "VAR... I'm starting to get tired of this story. Putting millions into something when you don't even know how to use it, it annoys me because I'm passionate, I'm dedicated.

    "At the start of the play, he [Icardi] pulled me on the arm, I fell and then he plays from that position for the penalty. So, I'm frustrated."

    Asked about Angers' complaints, Pochettino said: "It's difficult. I haven't seen the action footage yet. I couldn't see correctly whether there was a hand, a penalty or a foul ... I don't know. 

    "I understand Angers' feelings. I myself have often known these situations where the decisions are a little against us. But these are game situations."

    PSG have won 24 Ligue 1 games since the start of the Pochettino era in January 2021 (D2 L5) – at least four more than any other team over the period.

    Mbappe's penalty was his only shot on target from three attempts, his winner following his decisive goal in France's victory over Spain in the Nations League final.

    On Mbappe's performance, Pochettino added: "He is a player about whom we are full of praise. He has enormous qualities, especially that of being decisive when the team needs it."

    Mbappe has scored and delivered an assist in the same Ligue 1 game for only the third time in 2021, after January against Montpellier (two goals, one assist) and April at Strasbourg (one goal, one assist). He has been involved in 27 league goals for the year (20 goals, seven assists) – at least four more than any other player in the top flight.

    PSG are nine points clear at the top of Ligue 1, though they have played a game more than second-place Lens.

  • Saelemaekers delighted to continue Milan journey after penning new deal Saelemaekers delighted to continue Milan journey after penning new deal

    Alexis Saelemaekers is delighted to have pledged his long-term future to Milan, after penning a five-year contract with the Rossoneri.

    Saelemaerkers joined Milan from Anderlecht, initially on loan, in January 2020.

    Since then, he has made 52 appearances in Serie A, starting 38 times and helping Milan to 35 victories (only Franck Kessie, Theo Hernandez and Gianluigi Donnarumma have been involved in more league wins in that timeframe).

    He has created 44 chances, providing six league assists and scoring three goals.

    That form has seen him rewarded with a new deal, tying him to the San Siro until June 2026.

    "I'm happy to have grown with this team," Belgium international Saelemaekers told Milan's official website, before expanding on his official Instagram account.

    "Salamandra remains! I'm delighted to continue my story with this great club that has welcomed me and made me feel important immediately," a post read.

    "It's a wonderful emotion that I want to share with all the people who have accompanied me on this journey and in particular with all the Milan fans who are special.

    "I'm proud of my growth which has gone hand in hand with the team. Now, the target is always the same: work, grow and win!

    "Forza Milan God is Great!"

  • I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace I arrived as a kid and left as a man – Vieira looking forward to Arsenal return but targets glory with Palace

    Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.

    Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger's side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.

    The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O'Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).

    He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.

    Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.

    "The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well," said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.

    "I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.

    "That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.

    "It's about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday."

    Recent history of Palace's trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).

    However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.

    Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.