Italy defeated Spain 4-2 in a nail-biting penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw during a phenomenal Euro 2020 semi-final on Tuesday evening at Wembley Stadium. The decisive kick was converted by Jorginho, allowing the Azzurri to make it through to the Euro 2020 Final where they will either face Denmark or England.
Even though Italy claimed victory on Tuesday, they weren’t always on top of the game against Spain. The Red Fury were undoubtedly the better team for long spells during the remarkable match before the Juventus forward, Chiesa, gave Italy the lead thanks to an incredible finish an hour into the game witnessed by more than 57,000 spectators.
The often criticized Alvaro Morata, who didn’t feature on the starting line-up for Spain, came off the bench and managed to equalize with only 10 minutes left of normal time. No additional goals in extra time meant that Spain had to ensure a penalty shootout once again. The Red Fury defeated Switzerland in a shootout during the quarter-finals.
Spain also defeated Italy at Euro 2008 on penalties. However, this time around Spain gave up their advantage when both Morata and Dani Olmo failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Italy, on the other hand, only missed their first kick in the penalty shootout when Unai Simon denied Manuel Locatelli.
Wembley Ignites with Celebration
The Italians enjoyed their celebrations with a large crowd of UK-based supporters at the end of the match, and it’s safe to say that the Azzurri are a rejuvenated team under Roberto Mancini. They will continue to dream big heading into the Euro 2020 final as they look to claim their first European Championship title since 1968.
Italy is undefeated in 33 matches and will either face Denmark or England who will meet on Wednesday evening in the second last-four tie. It’s been 9 years since Spain demolished Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012 to claim their 3rd successive major tournament, and this was the 4th successive European Championship where these two teams had met.
Italy celebrated in a damp and cold July evening at Wembley but the atmosphere was electric. On the eve of the semi-final, both coaches expressed their disappointment about the lack of travelling supporters due to the pandemic in the UK. However, they didn’t realize that large Italian and Spanish communities already in Britain would attend the match. There was over 20,000 fans for the two teams from the 57,000 supporters.
This provided vibrant colors and noises that have been lacking at major sporting events since the start of the pandemic, providing the perfect atmosphere for both teams. The football was of the highest quality and truly absorbing, especially in midfield with Italian players like Barella, Verratti, and Jorginho facing off against Spain’s Pedri, Koke, and Busquets.
Morata Goes from Hero to Villain
The first half lacked drama in front of goal, even though Donnarumma made a vital safe to deny Olmo during the 25th minute. Leonardo Spinazzola was missed on the pitch, as the Italian left-back suffered a torn Achilles tendon injury against Belgium during the quarter-finals. On the other end, Morata was dropped and coach Luis Enrique selected Oyarzabal to start the match on the right flank for Spain.
Spain was undoubtedly the better team but Italy still managed to take the lead on the hour with a phenomenal goal. Spain reacted by sending on Gerard Moreno and Morata onto the pitch. Morata created the equalizer in the 80th minute when he passed the ball to Olmo before receiving it back to slot the ball into the back of the net.
However, when it came to the penalty shootout, he went from hero to villain when he failed to pass Donnarumma, ultimately losing the match for Spain. Don’t forget to visit our bookmaker review section at BettingPro to place your bets for the second semi-final and Euro 2020 final!