Following a 1-1 draw with Spain, Italy won a penalty shootout to advance to the Euro 2020 championships. The Italians have a perfect record at the tournament thus far, winning all of their group games and eliminating Austria and Belgium in the process.
Early on, Italy looked powerful and had a good chance when Lorenzo Insigne beat Unai Simon to the ball in a race. Fortunately for Spain, neither Ciro Immobile nor Nicolo Barella created space for a shot, so the chance passed.
Spain’s performance in the tournament has been less than stellar. They could not put away either Croatia or Switzerland in 90 minutes, having only secured five points in the group stage, and appeared to be riding their luck.
Nonetheless, they fared considerably better than Italy. They were on the edge of breaking the tie when Daniel Olmo’s shot was deflected back into his path. Gianluigi Donnarumma, who got down well to his right, made a nice save on his second effort.
In the second half, the game settled into a pattern of Spain dominating possession and Italy counter-attacking quickly. The latter’s strategy paid off when the Italians took the lead in the 60th minute.
The ball was intercepted by Federico Chiesa at the edge of the box after Insigne’s through ball to Immobile was intercepted. Chiesa cut in on his right foot and curled a stunning strike past Simon to put the game to bed.
At the other end, Spain kept pushing and came near on several occasions. Mikel Oyarzabal just missed getting on the back of Koke’s cross before setting up Olmo, who stabbed his shot just wide.
On the other hand, Spain tied the game in the 80th minute thanks to some exquisite link-up play between Alvaro Mortata and Olmo. Morata passed the ball to Olmo before sprinting through to intercept the pass. Before using his left foot, he took one touch to guide the ball past Donnarumma and get his team back into the game.
After a challenging game and a long tournament, there were many tired legs in extra time. First, Spain came near as Olmo’s free-kick bounced around the Italy box for a while before rolling behind for a goal kick.
Although chances were created during extra time, no team could take the lead, and the game was decided on penalties.
Both teams failed to reach their mark to open the game after two bad penalties. They then began converting their spot-kicks. Alvaro Morata, who has faced a lot of criticism for his difficulties in front of goal this tournament, much of it unjustified, took Spain’s fourth penalty.
However, Donarumma saved Morata’s penalty on this occasion, giving Italy the chance to reach the final. Jorginho took a stride forward and calmly slid the ball into the bottom right corner, sending Italy fans all over the world into a frenzy.