Italy will take part in their fourth EURO final on Sunday night and will be hoping to scratch a 53-year itch at Wembley Stadium.
The Azzurri lifted the trophy back in 1968 but have suffered defeats in their two most recent appearances in the decider. EURO2020.com looks back through the archives at their three showpiece outings.
This was the only EURO final ever to go to a replay. Hosts Italy were grateful for a second chance too, having appeared destined for defeat when Dragan Džajić prodded the talented Yugoslavia side ahead before the break, but Angelo Domenghini’s thumping free-kick with ten minutes left forced a second game.
Ferruccio Valcareggi made five changes for the return two days later, and the likes of Sandro Mazzola and Luigi Riva made the difference, the latter striking early by controlling Domenghini’s mishit shot and firing past Ilija Pantelić. Pietro Anastasi’s second was worthy of settling the contest, the striker controlling Giancarlo De Sisti’s angled pass and volleying superbly across the goalkeeper from the edge of the box.
In contrast with 1968, a late equaliser was the beginning of the end for the Azzurri in this Rotterdam showdown, as France clung on to later prevail via a golden goal. Before that, 1968 veteran Dino Zoff had looked to be on the verge of masterminding his team to victory, Marco Delvecchio having volleyed in from close range after Francesco Totti’s clever back-heel had released Gianluca Pessotto down the right.
Les Bleus looked out of ideas until, deep into added time, Fabien Barthez’s long kick was flicked on by David Trezeguet for fellow substitute Sylvain Wiltord, who drove his finish across Francesco Toldo. Roger Lemerre’s men then completed the turnaround in the 103rd minute, Robert Pirès bursting to the byline and cutting back a cross for Trezeguet to volley emphatically into the roof of the net.
If Italy’s first two finals were close fought, this was anything but. Cesare Prandelli’s side were quite simply overrun by an era-defining Spain outfit in Kyiv. And the Azzurri were up against it from the moment Cesc Fàbregas’s cross was glanced in by David Silva on 14 minutes, with their hopes deteriorating rapidly when Giorgio Chiellini succumbed to a thigh injury soon after.
Jordi Alba swept in the second from Xavi Hernández’s incisive through ball before the break and Vicente del Bosque’s men ruled the roost thereafter. Late goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave the final scoreline an unflattering look and left Italy still searching for a first European crown since that initial success in 1968.
World Cup finals
The Azzurri have also appeared in six deciders at the World Cup, emerging triumphant on four occasions.
1934: Italy 2-1aet Czechoslovakia
1938: Italy 4-2 Hungary
1970: Brazil 4-1 Italy
1982: Italy 3-1 West Germany
1994: Brazil 0-0aet Italy (pens: 3-2)
2006: Italy 1-1aet France (pens 5-3)