On Monday, in a tight, toughly contested Euro 2020 semifinals match, in Wembley Stadium, London, England, Italy and Spain drew 1-1 after extra time and Italy, with spot-kick specialist Jorginho, won 4-2 in the penalty shootout to progress to the final.
Federico Chiesa scored another beauty of a goal at the 60th minute only to have Alvaro Morata somewhat vindicate his second-half entry as a substitute by drawing the sides even at the 80th minute.
The Euro 2020 match was dominated by the Spaniards who possessed the ball 71% of the time, outshot Italy 16-7 and completed 908 passes to the Italian’s 387. The somewhat chippy nature of the match would be fathomed via the 35 called fouls, yet there were only three yellows and no reds dished out.
Roberto Mancini had his best eleven Italians on the pitch from the get-go and Luis Enrique tried to stay true to his new generation approach using only four veterans at the start. But as the game progressed, Enrique added three more veterans ensuing seven out of eleven were not of the new generation. Mancini trusted his troops longer but eventually felt he had to replace six players given the extra time and intensity of the match.
For Spain, it was their first big contest against an equal if not superior competitor. For Italy, it was a poor time to go misfiring on offense. In the end, each team showcased what had gotten them to this stage in the tournament with Spain controlling the match but unable to break the Italians down. Similarly, Italy were unable to keep up with their opponent’s midfield, an Azzurri advantage in all other matches, and so, their offense lacked continuity and was reduced to the spark a given solitary striker could provide.
But the quality of the sides made for an interesting match to the very end. In the penalty shootout, Manuel Locatelli missed for Italy and poor Alvaro Morata joined Dani Olmo as the two Spanish misses, while Jorginho provided his singular penalty-taking jig on the final penalty to giving Italy the win.