Euro 2020: Unstoppable Italy March To Final On Penalties

italy beat spain
Italy Beat Spain in Euro 2020. [Courtesy]

Italy beat Spain on penalties to reach the Euro 2020 final after an enthralling semi-final at a noisy Wembley.

After Alvaro Morata’s penalty was saved, Jorginho strolled up to score and set up a final with either England or Denmark in London on Sunday.

Federico Chiesa looked as if he had sent Italy – who are unbeaten in 33 games – to the final in normal time with a delightful curled finish to cap off a quick counter.

But Morata stepped off the bench to slot an equalizer with 10 minutes to go after a one-two with Dani Olmo.

However, the Juventus forward’s penalty miss in the shootout proved costly as Spain lost a semi-final for the first time in their history.

Read: End Of an Era? Ronaldo Kicks Armband After Euro 2020 Exit

Fears about an empty stadium or quiet crowd proved unfounded despite tickets still being on sale during the day, and with fans unable to fly from either country without having to quarantine for too long to watch the game.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy side have been arguably the best team in the tournament – and had won their previous 13 games – and deserve their place in the final.

However, this was the toughest they have had to work, and they only managed one shot between Morata’s equalizer and the shootout.

It is an especially sad end to the Euros for Morata. He has wasted numerous chances during the tournament – with his family having to endure threats from fans – and his equalizer looked set to change the narrative before he failed from the spot.

Italy’s style of play has changed as the tournament has gone on, with the Azzurri reverting to their old defensive ways, and it has taken them through to the final.

Read Also: Out! Defending Champs Portugal, Netherlands Kiss Euro 2020 Goodbye

They were free-scoring and impressive in the group stages – while also solid at the back – taking their run to 11 wins in a row without conceding.

But they needed extra time to beat Austria in the last 16 and then dug in to beat Belgium 2-1 last time out.

Mancini took over a team that failed to even qualify for the 2018 World Cup and has now led them to the next major final.

Surprisingly, the four-time world champions have only ever won one European Championship – all the way back in 1968.

They lost the 2000 and 2012 finals – but will hope to go one better this time at Wembley.

Read Also: Controversial Away Goals Rule Scrapped From European Competitions

Emerson was a competent but unspectacular replacement for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola at left-back and hit the bar from a tight angle with their only effort of the first half.

Their breakthrough came from a counter-attack that began with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and ended with Chiesa’s perfect finish from near the edge of the box leaving Unai Simon rooted to the spot.

They had a couple of chances to wrap the game up, but Domenico Berardi shot straight at Simon both times before Morata equalized.

From that stage on it looked as if they were playing for penalties – and that was the way it turned out.

The Azzurri got off to the worst possible start when Manuel Locatelli’s penalty was saved, but they converted the rest of their spot-kicks with Jorginho nonchalantly waiting for Spain keeper Simon to move before slotting the other way to send them through to the final.

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Written by Bonface Osano

Communication And Media Student. Sports Writer.


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