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Italy crowned European champions after shootout win over England



Photo credit Reuters
(Last Updated On: July 12, 2021)

Italy claimed the European Championship for the first time since 1968 as penalties came back to haunt England at Wembley on Sunday, Gianluigi Donnarumma saving twice as the Azzurri won a shootout 3-2 after the game finished 1-1 following extra time.

The giant goalkeeper saved from Jadon Sancho and, decisively, Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Federico Bernardeschi, Leonardo Bonucci, and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians in the shootout.

Luke Shaw had given England a dream start with a superb goal after two minutes but Italy, who offered almost nothing in response in the first half, gradually took command and deservedly leveled through Bonucci after 67 minutes.

It was the first final decided on penalties since Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in 1976 and was wildly celebrated in Italy after they lost the final in 2000 and 2012.

For England coach Gareth Southgate, who missed from the spot when they lost in the Euro96 semi-final to Germany, it was another shootout horror show.

The two players he sent on late in extra time with penalties in mind missed their penalties, as did 19-year-old Saka, who crumpled under the pressure of taking the final kick.

Italy has now won five and lost six of their 10 major tournament shootouts, including one win and one loss in World Cup finals, while England’s dismal record now reads seven losses from nine.

But England fans dreaming of a second title to add to the 1966 World Cup can hardly complain they were robbed this time after their team followed a strong start by surrendering the initiative despite the support from most of the 67,000 crowds.

The match statistics told the story as Italy had 66% possession and 19 shots to England’s six and, until the shootout, Donnarumma barely touched the ball.

Italy is now unbeaten in 34 matches, underlining the stunning turnaround fashioned by coach Roberto Mancini who took over after the country’s humiliating failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

“It was impossible even to think about this, but the guys were extraordinary,” Mancini said. “I don’t have words for them, this is a magnificent group. We were great, we conceded an early goal and had some problems but then we dominated.”


It had all started so well for England when Harry Kane spread the ball wide to Kieran Trippier and he instantly repaid coach Southgate’s faith in recalling him by sending over a curling deep cross that Shaw met on the half volley to hammer inside the post for his first international goal.

England had taken an early lead in their 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia before being outplayed and losing in extra time but for a while, they stayed on top, with the Italians arguing and running to Mancini for instructions as they struggled for a foothold.

England’s well-drilled defense, which had conceded one goal, via a Denmark free-kick, in their six previous tournament games, looked safe enough but the players in front gradually began to concede more and more territory.

Jordan Pickford had to save from Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa as Italy cranked up the pressure and it paid dividends when Bonucci pounced from close range after the keeper had turned Andrea Belotti’s header onto a post.

England could have no complaints after inviting their opponents on and offering almost nothing in attack.

It was a similar story in extra time, though England did briefly force their way back into the game, albeit without creating much to reward the crowd for their waves of noise.

England briefly sensed glory in the shootout when Pickford saved from Belotti, and Kane and Harry Maguire put them 2-1 ahead. The keeper kept the hosts in it again when he saved from Jorginho, only for Donnarumma to have the final word when he blocked Saka’s weakly-struck shot.

“The penalty takers are my call,” said Southgate. “We know they were the best takers we had left on the pitch, and we tried to get those players on to the pitch.

“The players have given everything, not only tonight but throughout the whole tournament. They should hold their heads high… but the devastation of getting so close is difficult to put into context.

“At the moment the pain of the defeat is huge, we wanted to give our nation one more special night and a first European championship and we haven’t quite been able to do it.”

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Improved security boosts tourism in Shulgarh district in Balkh



(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Local officials in Balkh province said this week that domestic tourism has improved substantially and that in the past month, about 30,000 visitors have visited the popular Khwaja Sekandar Springs in Shulgarh district.

Officials said that Balkh tourist attractions are drawing in large numbers of visitors amid improved security, especially visitors to the springs.

Balkh residents have welcomed the growing number of visitors to their province and said this was largely due to improved security.

“The difference is big, in the past there was insecurity, now because of the security of this place, people come a lot,” said Ghulam Yahya, a tourist.

Since the IEA took control of the country, provinces around the country are reporting an increase in domestic tourism due to the improved security situation.

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More than 1,000 infected with severe diarrhea outbreak in Takhar



(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

The Takhar Department of Public Health says that in the past three days, more than 1,000 people have been infected with severe diarrhea in Takhar province.

The public health officials said that most of the people infected live in the remote areas of Bangi and Ishkamish districts.

According to these officials, mobile health teams have been sent to the area to prevent casualties and to curb the spread of this disease.

A number of non-governmental health institutions have also started working to prevent casualties caused by this disease.

However, residents of the province have stated that there are no health centers in many remote areas in the province and asked government to establish mobile health centers in these areas.

Poor hygiene habits, hot weather and also the use of unsafe water are said to be the reasons for the spread of this disease.

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Work starts on new road to ease traffic in Kabul city



(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

Kabul municipality officials said Saturday construction work on the new Wazir Akbar Khan to Sherpur road has started in order to reduce traffic congestion in the city center. 

Water culverts will also be included in the project that is being undertaken by the municipality’s Department of Work Maintenance and Monitoring of Kabul Municipality, Bakhtar reported.

The project, once completed, will cost 15 million Afghanis.

The new road will link Street 15 in Wazir Akbar Khan with Street 2 in Sherpur. Six properties along this section will be demolished to make way for the road.

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