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Italy beat Spain on penalties to reach Euro 2020 final

Tue 06 July 2021 | 21:45

The Azzurri defeated Spain 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley.

Italy

faced

Spain

in their Euro 2020 semi-final tie on Tuesday. Roberto Mancini was forced to make one change to the Azzurri lineup that eliminated Belgium on Friday. The injured Leonardo Spinazzola was replaced by Chelsea’s Emerson, while the rest of the lineup remained the same. On the other hand, Luis Enrique made three changes to the side that he had picked for their quarter-final victory over Switzerland. Pau Torres was replaced by

Mikel Oyarzabal

, while Ferran Torres started ahead of

Alvaro Morata

upfront. La Roja played without the service of their injured winger Pablo Sarabia, whose place was taken by

Dani Olmo

.

Following a few half-chances by the Azzurri at the beginning of the game, Spain quickly gained possession and tried to get an early opener. La Roja had their first opportunity in the 12th minute, where Pedri’s inch-perfect pass from behind the box found Oyarzabal in open space. However, the Real Sociedad forward failed to time his first touch correctly, only for Giorgio Chiellini to clear the ball.

Despite staying cautious of Italy’s counter-attacks, Spain continued to put pressure on Italy’s defense and were close to scoring their first goal of the night in the 25th minute. Following a through pass from Oyarzabal, Olmo managed to control the ball in the middle of the box. The Leipzig forward dug out a shot toward the far corner that was stopped by

Gianluigi Donnarumma

.

The pace of the game dropped significantly after the half-hour mark as both teams seemed determined to avoid conceding the opening goal. Italy managed to get past Spain’s backline a few times, but they lacked the cutting edge in their efforts and the first half ended in a goalless draw.

Spain started the second half with dominance and put fierce pressure on Italy’s backline. La Roja came close to scoring the opener, but they were stunned by Italy’s swift counter-attack just before the hour-mark. Ciro Immobile’s precise pass from the edge of the box found

Federico Chiesa

, who cut inside before curling the ball into the far bottom corner. The Azzurri had the chance to double their lead eight minutes later. However, Domenico Berardi’s strike from the six-yard box was stopped by the shins of Unai Simon.

Having failed to get their second goal, Italy tried to finish the game off by maintaining defensive intensity for the rest of the match. However, La Roja broke through Italy’s backline by Aymeric Laporte's perfect through-pass in the 80th minute. The pass found none other than Morata, who played a quick give and go with Olmo before slotting the ball past Donnarumma into the bottom left corner. The under-fire striker became Spain’s all-time top scorer at the Euros by scoring his 6th goal in 10 European Championship appearances for La Roja. Spain were close to getting the match-winner before the full-time whistle, but they were not able to convert their chances and the game went to extra-time with a 1-1 draw.

Enrique’s side gained possession at the beginning of the extra time and had the chance to score in the 100th minute. Following a poor clearance from Donnarumma, Marcos Llorente found the loose ball at the edge of the box. However, the Atletico Madrid star couldn’t find the back of the net as his first-time effort was stopped by

Leonardo Bonucci

’s timely block. La Roja continued to attack throughout the extra-time, but they were not able to get past Italy’s solid defense and the match went to penalty kicks.

Following two misses from Manuel Locatelli and Dani Olmo, both teams converted their next two penalties. Bernardeschi fired his effort into the top corner to make it 3-2, but Morata failed to level the game as his shot was comfortably saved by Donnarumma. It all came down to

Jorginho

’s decisive penalty, which was smashed into the bottom corner of the net to send Italy to the final.

The winner of tomorrow’s battle between England and Denmark will face Italy in the Euro 2020 final on July 11.


source: SportMob