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Euro 2020 Report: Italy 1 (4) -1 (2) Spain

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Euro 2020 Report: Italy 1 (4) -1 (2) Spain

Italy and Spain met in the first semi-final of Euro 2020 at Wembley. The Azzurri endured a nervous victory against Belgium, while La Roja needed penalties to fire Switzerland.

The match started evenly, with Spain enjoying the majority of possession without posing much of a threat. Italy was being held back while Spain sought to advance at every opportunity.

The Azzurri should have done better when Unai Simon ran off their line without catching the ball, but they couldn’t shoot. At the other end, Dani Olmo put Donnarumma to the test with a good low and well-maintained shot.

Italy was slowly getting into the game, but was struggling to bond as smoothly as they normally do. Both teams fought hard to win the midfield battle, but the game was slowed down due to nuisance fouls. Spain were slightly on top when the halftime whistle sounded, although it was still no one’s game.

The second part started quickly, with Busquets’ shot scraping the roof of the net. For Italy, Chiesa tested Unai Simon with a low effort that held up comfortably. However, Spain looked more dangerous now with the three forwards combining better than the first half. That didn’t last long as Italy took the lead against the game’s streak.

Donnarumma put them on a counterattack with Insigne’s pass being cleared only to Chiesa. The attacker tapped before putting the ball into the net with Simon from left nailed to the point.

Roberto Mancini’s side was now in charge, with Berardi firing straight at Simon from a tight angle. That came after Oyarzabal missed a good chance to tie. Italy began to advance more and more, as Spain desperately searched for a leveler. Luis Enrique brought Morata and Moreno to refresh things and it was the first who came out triumphant.

After some good heist play, Morata was slipped by Olmo with the Juventus forward passing the ball to a wrong Donnarumma to make it 1-1.

The game calmed down again in the middle of the field, with neither team wanting to make a mistake. As the clock ticked on and a host of substitutions were made, overtime came when the 90 minutes were up.

The extra period started at a slower pace, naturally, with both teams cautiously watching to advance. Donnarumma rejected Olmo’s free-kick in the best chance of the first 15 minutes.

Italy started the final 15 minutes in a more positive way, with Berardi ending after five minutes ruled out for offside. The rest of the period was spent in the middle, as had been most of the game. Spain was happy to dominate possession, Italy happy to remain compact and vigilant. It all came down to penalties to separate the two sides at the end of 120 minutes.

The penalty shoot-out was opened with a couple of misses by Locatelli and Olmo. Of the subsequent scorers, Morata was the only man to fail. That prepared Jorginho to end the game, which he did with his trademark style of scoring the penalty. Italy was on its way to the final in the same stadium where Spain was left to lament its lack of a clinical nature.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

ITALY INSPIRED DO IT

The Azzurri did not have the best of beginnings with Spain, taking the game a lot. That first half could have ended Italy behind, but a combination of a poor finish and solid defense allowed them to reach the same level.

Despite the fact that they had been on the defensive for so long, it didn’t seem like they were going to give in any time soon unless something special happened. The second period saw them assert themselves much more, finally seeking to find a breakthrough.

It arrived in quite fortuitous circumstances with Laporte’s clearance falling directly to Chiesa who arrived with a sumptuous shot. That had its strength for much of the tournament, able to withstand adversity before winning matches.

However, his defense was finally violated by Morata to tie and bring extra time. Even that failed to separate the two as the game headed for penalties. Jorginho’s calm finish earned the Azzurri who are now in the final victory.

MISFIRING SPAIN FINALLY AUTUMN

Spain’s attacking problems throughout Euro 2020 have been well documented. Their forwards simply haven’t been able to shoot, and have had to rely on their own individual goals and errors to score. Their luck finally ran out in this decisive match, where they actually dominated most parts before the goal.

Their lack of finishing moves hurt them when Chiesa threw the Azzurri into the lead. Enrique responded with the incorporation of Morata among others, who deserved the draw to send the game into extra time.

The additional 30 minutes failed to bring a winner as the match went to penalties. After an early setback for each side, Morata’s missed penalty allowed Jorginho to seal the match with an icy finish for the Azzurri.

ITALY FAVORITES NOW?

Italy has been finding ways to win no matter the circumstances. Against Austria, he dug deep and scored twice in overtime. Against Belgium, they protected their slim lead for nearly 15 minutes.

Now, against Spain, although they were outmatched for much of the game, Mancini’s men were able to take the game into extra time and further to penalties to win it. Surely, they are now firmly believing in themselves to win the ultimate prize. Their togetherness and compact nature will be difficult to break and defeat, no matter who from England or Denmark they take on.

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