Three-time European Championship winners Spain are out of Euro 2020 after losing 4-2 on penalties to Italy. The Azzuri who are on a three year unbeaten run, were arguably given their best game of the tournament.
Sergio Busquets, Koke and Pedri were over powering and causing many problems to Italy and Italy’s midfield.
The 1968 European Championship winners Italy have been dominant in this tournament and many have seen them as the team of the tournament, it’s with good reason too.
Lorenzo Insigne, Leonardo Spinizzola and the returning Marco Verrati have been key to how brilliantly Italy have functioned as team .
In the semi-final against Spain however, Verratti was marked out of the game and Roma defender Spinizzola injured for the rest of the tournament, blunted the Italians’ potency as a result.
The Roma left-back has been sensational and although Chelsea defender Emerson, wasn’t terrible in this game, coming in for the 28-year old, the harsh truth is Emerson Palmeri isn’t as good as Leonardo Spinizzola.
Spain, like in other matches, were having the better of the game possession wise and eventually chances as well as Gianluigi Donurruma made a couple of smart stops to keep Spain at bay.
Italy although not out of the game, just were lacking an edge, a creative spark – which is usually provided down the left hand side courtesy of Spinizzola’s marauding runs
They still probed and battled to compete in the game and were a threat on the break, through one of their other key performers of this tournament Lorenzo Insigne. Another one of many Italy’s impressive performers Chiesa, fired Italy through, the Juventus man superbly curling home past Spanish goal keeper Unai Simon.
With a one goal lead, many would have thought that this game was over, but credit to 2008 and 2012 champions Spain as they managed to get back on level terms courtesy of a expertly taken goal by the usually wasteful Alvaro Morata.
On the balance of play, Spain’s leveller was deserved as Louis Enrique’s side were brilliant and dominant in midfield, testing Italy’s centre backs and were creating good chances as a result .
As the clock ticked down, Extra time was looming and in the end, this is where this semi-final went to.
In Euro2020, all of Spain’s games have gone to Extra time- so on the face of it, it was advantage Spain, but it didn’t turn out that way as arguably both sides were starting to tire and penalties were approaching.
So penalties it would be to settle this game. After an early exchange of missed penalties in the shootout , it would turn out that Alvaro Morata, who helped Spain get into Extra Time and penalties, would miss the penalty that proved costly.
It was left to Chelsea midfielder Jorginho to slot the winning penalty and help Roberto Mancini’s side seal a 4-2 win on penalties. An exciting finish to an exciting game. For Spain, a tournament with low expectation has arguably been a good one, but has now ended, agonisingly at the semi-final stage.
As for Italy, they have been arguably the team of the tournament and preserve their three year unbeaten run with a tense win over Spain, but arguably deserved just. England or Denmark await in Sunday’s final at Wembley.