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Italy crowned European champions as England crash on penalties

Italy 1 — England 1 (after extra time)
Italy win 3-2 on penalties

England crash on penaltiesItaly deserved it, even if the win came on penalties, the monkey on England’s back for decades now.

Playing away from home in the Euro 2020 final, the Azzurri outpassed England, conceded just one shot on target (Luke Shaw’s goal), and are now unbeaten in 34 matches, the longest such streak in their history.

This team is greater than the sum of its parts, but it contains several remarkable individuals: Juventus’s ancient central defending duo of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, the twin midfield playmakers Jorginho and Marco Verratti and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, apparently complete at 22 and named player of the tournament.

Gareth Southgate’s England were outclassed but highly organised as ever, did well to hold a better side for two hours of play, and can congratulate themselves on their best performance in a tournament since 1966.

England’s captain Harry Kane told the BBC: “We should be extremely proud as a group of what we have achieved,” adding, “We progressed well from Russia and now is about continuing that.”

Southgate said that the players: “have been an absolute joy to work with and they have gone further than we’ve gone for so long. But, of course, tonight it is incredibly painful in that dressing room. You have to feel that disappointment because the opportunities to win trophies like this are so rare in your life.”

This game followed the script of most of England’s big games of recent decades: take an early lead, then spend the rest of the game defending with their backs to the wall, finally succumb, and lose on penalties.

On two minutes they counter-attacked down the right and found Kieran Trippier, who had come into the team for this match in the place of winger Bukayo Saka. A Beckham-esque striker of the ball, Trippier lobbed a precise cross to his fellow full-back, unmarked at the far post. Shaw crowned an excellent tournament by smashing in an instant half-volley.

Italy’s Andrea Belotti lifts the trophy after the final of Euro 2020 © AP

Wembley had been waiting for this moment for 55 years. The stadium was heaving, but dangerously so. It looked a lot fuller than the official capacity of 60,000. People without tickets had breached security, and in some stands every seat looked occupied, and then some: many were standing. Others arrived before extra time, and by the end some gangways were dangerously packed, with few interventions from stewards.

At first, Shaw’s goal seemed to have set up the game England wanted: sit back, rely on their tight defence that had conceded just once before in this tournament, let Italy come at their massed ranks, then hope to counter through the pacy Raheem Sterling.

Their central defensive trio of Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker as ever made hardly any mistakes. Keeper Jordan Pickford had recovered his nerves after losing them in the semi-final against Denmark.

Southgate always has a plan, and by and large his players stick to it. When England had the ball, they tried to bypass central midfield, Italy’s strongest spot, where the Azzurri had both a numerical advantage and the Jorginho-Verratti engine room.

England aimed to play from the back straight to Shaw and Trippier on the flanks or hit deep passes to the head of Kane. But Kane and especially Sterling scarcely got into the game, neutralised by Bonucci (deservedly named “star of the match”) and Chiellini.

England are not an aggressive pressing side, and fielding three centre-backs meant surrendering midfield.

From late in the first half, Italy’s passing moves forced the English to defend around their own penalty area, the zone where one slip can mean disaster.

Italy were the more skilled side on the ball — 90 per cent of their passes were accurate, versus just 78 per cent of England’s — but they also trusted themselves to pass more. If you give a team as good as Italy almost nonstop possession, and licence to advance almost unhindered to within 20 yards of your goal, they are likely to take advantage at some point.

It took until the 61st minute for the Azzurri to force Pickford into a decisive save, diving to his left to stop Federico Chiesa’s low shot. But the goal came six minutes later, the logical consequence of ever-deeper Italian territorial penetration. The scorer, improbably, was 34-year-old Bonucci. An Italian corner prompted a scramble in the penalty area. Pickford pushed Verratti’s header against the post, but the Juventus grandee tapped in the rebound.

Southgate should have intervened to change England’s tactics earlier, but did so only after the damage was done, sending on Saka for Trippier and going from a five-man to a four-man defence.

From then on, England did manage to keep the ball more often and further from their own danger area.

In extra time Italy’s menace diminished, with their chief creator Verratti and Chiesa having gone off injured. Southgate had sent on the wild-card young dribbler, Jack Grealish, and he danced around Italian defenders, serenaded by Wembley as “Super, Super Jack”.

Still, the stats told the story of who had dominated the 120 minutes of play: Italy had 62 per cent possession, completed 755 passes to England’s 341, and had six shots on target to England’s one. It’s a tribute to England’s defensive organisation that they managed to take this game to penalties.

Southgate’s England will have felt more confident about the shootout than any other recent national side. They had broken the country’s ancient penalty jinx by beating Colombia in the shootout at the World Cup in 2018, and few sides practice penalties more or perform more exhaustive data analysis of them.

Just before the end of extra time, Southgate had sent on Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho specifically for their prowess at penalty-taking.

It was brave of them to line up. In the event, they were the first England players to miss, after Kane and Maguire had hit unstoppable kicks. Perhaps it’s too much to ask of young men to come into a game of such importance cold, and then almost immediately take the weightiest spot-kicks in English football history.

When Donnarumma saved from Saka, it was all over.

Italy hadn’t even qualified for the last World Cup, a low in their modern footballing history. This triumph crowned their thrilling reinvention as an attacking passing side under manager Roberto Mancini. Their 13 goals at Euro 2020 were the most the Azzurri have scored in a major tournament.

Italy will travel with confidence to the World Cup in Qatar next year. But England — still a relatively young side with potential to grow — have an outside shot, too.

Italy edge out Spain on penalties to reach Euro 2020 final

Jorginho’s spot-kick seals progress for Italy who have not been beaten in their last 33 games.

Jorginho converted the decisive spot-kick as Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties after their Euro 2020 semi-final ended 1-1 after extra time on Tuesday, earning them a place in Sunday’s final against either England or Denmark.

Spain missed two of their spot-kicks, including one by substitute Alvaro Morata, whose late equaliser had taken the game into extra time.

After a cagey first half, Italy struck on the hour when a fast-paced break begun by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma ended with the ball falling for Federico Chiesa, who cut in from the left and curled in a superb finish.

Spain levelled 10 minutes from time when Morata, dropped from the starting team after a run of poor finishing displays, played a clever one-two with Dani Olmo to open up the Italian defence and calmly slot home to take his team into extra time for the third successive game.

Italy were not always on top in this game, though, with Spain the better side for long spells of an epic contest before Chiesa’s goal in a match watched by a crowd of almost 58,000.

For Spain, the failure to find a winner meant penalties again for a side that beat Switzerland in a shoot-out in the quarter-finals.

They had also beaten Italy on penalties at Euro 2008, but this time misses from Dani Olmo and then Morata saw Spain give up the advantage they had been handed when Manuel Locatelli failed with the first kick in the shoot-out.

The Italians celebrated at the end with a large contingent of their UK-based supporters, and a team that has been rejuvenated under Roberto Mancini continues to dream of winning a first European Championship title since 1968.

It is nine years since Spain mauled Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv to win a third consecutive major tournament, and this was the fourth consecutive European Championship in which these powerhouses had met.

Now unbeaten in 33 games, Italy go through to the final to face either England or Denmark, who will meet on Wednesday in the second semi-final.

Read more here >>> Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Italy beat Spain on penalties as England discover potential Euro 2020 final opponents

England or Denmark will meet Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final after the Azzurri dispatched Spain 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Wembley. Roberto Mancini’s side march on and they will take some stopping as they set their sights on glory in London in five days time.

They are now 33 matches unbeaten as they once again demonstrated their unbreakable team spirit and will to win, having been pushed all the way by Spain.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho struck the winning penalty during the shootout, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after exercising his trademark skipping routine once again.

Italy had missed the opening spot-kick in the shootout as substitute Manuel Locatelli’s low strike was saved by Unai Simon.

Yet they were handed an immediate Get Out of Jail Free card when RB Leipzig’s Dani Olmo blazed over for Spain.

Andrea Belotti, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi all scored to put the pressure on their opponents.

Gerard Moreno and Thiago Alcantara were also successful from 12-yards before Alvaro Morata’s tame pen was saved.

Jorginho then made no mistake to book his side’s place at Wembley, where he will square off against club teammates Mason Mount, Ben Chilwell or Andreas Christensen.

There was nothing between the two sides for an hour until Federico Chiesa finally broke the deadlock when he curled the ball home beautifully into the far corner past the helpless Simon.

The winger forced his way into Mancini’s starting XI after his game-changing cameo against Austria in the last 16, in which he scored in a 2-1 victory.

Yet Spain refused to lie down and continued to look dangerous as they went in search of an equaliser.

They finally found it when substitute Morata finished a slick team move brilliantly in front of the jubilant Spanish support.

Luis Enrique’s men then looked like the side most likely to win the game as Italy’s aging squad tired.

The game lacked quality in extra-time as fatigued showed and Italy looked as though they were holding on for penalties.

Spain had already enjoyed their share of spot-kick success after defeating Switzerland on penalties in the quarter-finals but that experience did not help them here.

England will not be taking Denmark lightly as they look to go one better than Euro ’96 and the 2018 World Cup, when they fell at the semi-final hurdle.

Whoever meets the Italians this weekend will be looking to capitalise on the fact Mancini’s men have now had to battle through 120 minutes on two occasions…

Author: Ryan Taylor
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Sport

Spain beat Swiss 3-1 on penalties to reach Euro 2020 semi-finals

After a 1-1 draw, Unai Simon made two saves in a shootout to keep Spain’s bid for a record fourth European crown alive.

Goalkeeper Unai Simon saved two penalties as Spain beat 10-man Switzerland 3-1 in a shoot-out to secure a place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

After a 1-1 draw on Friday in St Petersburg that saw the Swiss play for 43 minutes a man down, Simon made two saves in the shootout to help keep Spain’s bid for a record fourth European crown alive.

It was heartbreak for Switzerland, who were bidding for reaching the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time in their history.

Spain forged ahead early on when Denis Zakaria put through his own net, but Switzerland were the better side for long periods and Xherdan Shaqiri, standing in for the suspended Granit Xhaka as captain, equalised in the 68th minute.

The Swiss were reduced to 10 men with 13 minutes remaining, though, when midfielder Remo Freuler was controversially dismissed for a tackle on Gerard Moreno.

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer, the hero of the penalty shootout win over world champions France in the last 16, made a string of fine saves in extra time.

But Simon saved from Fabian Schaer and Manuel Akanji, while Ruben Vargas blazed over in a tense finale as Spain snuck through, with Mikel Oyarzabal smashing home the winning spot-kick.

Spain move into a Tuesday semi-final at Wembley against Belgium or Italy.

Spain’s forward Mikel Oiarzabal celebrates with goalkeeper Unai Simon after winning the penalty shootout [Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP]

After scoring 10 goals in their previous two matches, this was a return to the type of profligate performances that saw Spain draw their first two group games against Sweden and Poland.

But the 2008 and 2012 winners made a dream start to this quarter-final, taking the lead in fortunate circumstances in only the eighth minute.

A corner was cleared only as far as Jordi Alba, whose left-footed volley was diverted past Sommer by Switzerland midfielder Zakaria, only playing in place of Xhaka.

It was the 10th own goal of Euro 2020, more than the other 15 editions combined.

Alvaro Morata wasted an excellent opportunity by heading too close to Sommer when unmarked, but then Switzerland started to grow into the game.

Silvan Widmer headed off target from a corner, before Steven Zuber thought he had won a penalty only to be flagged offside.

Spain coach Luis Enrique sent on Dani Olmo for Pablo Sarabia at half-time and the RB Leipzig man threatened inside 60 seconds, seeing his low volley well held by Sommer.

Zakaria came agonisingly close to making up for his earlier own goal when his header span narrowly wide.

Switzerland had an even better chance for a leveller in the 64th minute, as Shaqiri sparked a quick counter-attack that ended with Spain goalkeeper Simon reacting well to keep out Zuber’s stabbed effort at his near post.

Switzerland’s midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (right) fights for the ball with Spain’s defender Cesar Azpilicueta [Dmitri Lovetsky/AFP]

Shaqiri strikes

But the underdogs found the equaliser they deserved four minutes later, as Freuler latched onto a loose ball after a mix-up in the Spanish defence and squared for Shaqiri to slot into the far corner and score his third goal of the tournament.

The pattern of the game changed in the 77th minute though, when referee Michael Oliver gave Freuler his marching orders for a sliding challenge on Spanish substitute Moreno.

Switzerland managed to keep Spain at bay until the end of normal time with relative ease, but in the third minute of the additional half an hour Moreno should have put Spain back in front, only to miskick Alba’s cross wide from close range.

Switzerland were perhaps lucky not to have another man sent off shortly afterwards, when Widmer escaped a second yellow card for a cynical foul on Olmo.

Moreno somehow passed up another golden opportunity, denied at point-blank range by Sommer, before the Borussia Moenchengladbach stopper made an excellent diving save from Oyarzabal.

Sommer made eight saves in extra time alone, but his one in the shootout from Rodri was not enough, despite Sergio Busquets also hitting the post, as Switzerland missed three of their four penalties.

Read more here >>> Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes in tears after Villarreal win Europa League on penalties

Bruno Fernandes could not hold back the tears after Manchester United’s heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final. The Red Devils were beaten 11-10 on spot-kicks after a thrilling shootout that never seemed like ending but it was David de Gea of all people who missed the decisive spot-kick that saw former Arsenal boss Unai Emery win the competition for the fourth time.
United took the penalties second and responded perfectly every time for ten successive spot-kicks.

Yet when it came down to the goalkeepers, Geronimo Rulli kept out the Spaniard’s strike after converting emphatically into the top corner himself.

After what has been a gruelling season, United fell just short of winning their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the final hurdle.

Fernandes had talked about using the Europa League as a launchpad for more trophies beyond this season.

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Marcus Rashford endured a night to forget despite dispatching his spot-kick from 12-yards.

He missed a glaring opportunity inside the box in the second half to put his side ahead but placed his shot wide of the mark.

Villareal took the lead in the first half when Gerard Moreno ghosted in on goal and fired home from a free-kick to the back post.

United responded well after the interval as Edinson Cavani struck an equaliser to give his team hope.

But after a gruelling 120 minutes of action the sides could barely be separated after 22 spot-kicks.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Texas’ larger cities would face financial penalties

Author: Juan Pablo Garnham and Jolie McCullough
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Software giant SAP agrees to pay $8 million in penalties

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

German software multinational SAP has agreed to pay more than $ 8 million in penalties as part of a deal to settle complaints it broke US federal law by exporting thousands of products to Iran, the US Department of Justice said.

Federal prosecutors have agreed not to press charges against the global company as part of its deal with the US Justice, Treasury and Commerce departments.

The Justice Department (DOJ) said in a statement on Thursday that the deal it struck with the global software company is the first of its kind.

SAP, which is headquartered in the German town of Walldorf, admitted that it violated laws around exports and US sanctions related to Iran, and agreed to help US authorities with their investigations.

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Prosecutors allege that the company illegally exported thousands of software products to Iranian firms over at least seven years.

According to DOJ officials, under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, companies can benefit from self-disclosure agreements if they make disclosures before the “imminent threat of disclosure or government investigation”.

John Demers, Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ’s National Security Division, said the situation “could have been far worse” for SAP if it hadn’t admitted to the illegal exports. “We hope that other businesses, software or otherwise, will heed this lesson,” he told reporters on Thursday.

SAP said in a statement it “welcomed” the conclusion of the US investigations and that it “accepts full responsibility for past conduct.”

This is not the first time the company has paid financial penalties to US authorities in relation to its foreign business activities. In 2016, the software giant agreed to give up $ 3.7 million in sales profits after an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission found that an SAP executive had paid $ 145,000 in bribes to a senior Panamanian government official.

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