Euro 2020: Italy defeat Spain on penalties to book their place in the final

Spain was by far the better team in the contest but it was just not to be for Luis Enrique's men as Morata failed to convert his penalty.

Italy celebrate their win over Spain. (Image: Twitter/UEFA EURO 2020)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Jul 7, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Italy has gone through to the final of Euro 2020 after beating Spain in what was an absolute nail-biter of a match. The game ended 1-1 after 120 minutes and had to be decided on penalties. Both the sides failed to convert their initial attempts, following which Italy converted all remaining four. Spain could only convert two as Alvaro Morata’s penalty was saved brilliantly by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Spain was by far the better team in the contest. But it was just not to be for Luis Enrique’s men. Pedri and Dani Olmo played an elite brand of football as the two were the best players. However, the Spanish side’s lack of killer instinct came back to haunt them as they missed chances to kill the game.

The first half was something nobody perhaps expected to see. Going into the game, the Italians were the strong favorites. It was not surprising because Spain had barely scraped past Switzerland and the Azzurri had defeated Belgium in the quarter-finals. However, in the first half, Spain was better by a mile. Pedri and Dani Olmo absolutely ran the show as the Italian midfield looked clueless. Even the fearsome Italian defense seemed shaky at times. Enrique’s men had the better chances and had they taken them, we would have seen a different result.

Italy improve in second half

The second half was more of the same, but Italy did improve their performance. Spain did have the majority of the ball and created the more dangerous chances. But it was the Azzurri that scored first. Federico Chiesa struck a beautiful curler in the 60th minute to make it 1-0, completely against the run of play. About 20 minutes later, Dani Olmo finally got the reward for his outstanding performance as a slipped through a beautifully weighted pass to Morata. He slotted it past Donnarumma with ease in the 80th minute. With the deadlock re-established again, both sides seemed to take their foot off the gas for the rest of the 90 minutes.

The first period of extra time did not conjure up anything special either. It was possibly the fatigue that was creeping into both sets of players. In the second period, Berardi did find the back of the net. But it was ruled out for a clear offside. Spain also had a few close chances in the second period. However, the Italians held their ground, and the match went to the dreaded shootout.

Manuel Locatelli was the first to step up and had his shot saved by Unai Simon. It was a fine save, low to the goalkeeper’s right. Dani Olmo was next, one of the best players on the pitch on the night. Unfortunately, his shot flew over the crossbar. Belotti, Bonucci, Bernardeschi, and Jorginho took the following spot-kicks for the Azzurri, and they all converted. For Spain, however, Morata’s weak effort was comfortably dealt with by Donnarumma, and that would prove to be their end in Euro 2020.

Italy will face either England or Denmark in the final of the competition at Wembley Stadium.

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