Italy booked the final berth in the Euro 2020 on Tuesday after Jorghino’s calm and collected penalty kick which sealed the victory following a nerve-racking match against Spain. The match ended with a 1-1 draw with added extra time leading to an enthralling penalty shootout where Italy won with a 4-2 margin.
It will be the third European Cup final for the Azzuri with their only victory coming in 1968 against Yugoslavia. Italy’ win on Tuesday gives them a great opportunity to mend their record in the finals and become European champions after 54 years.
The drama started before kick-off as Spanish manager Luis Enrique dropped their premier forward Alvaro Morata from the starting eleven and picked Mikel Oyarzabal to start on their right flank up front. The Spaniards dominated the first half with Dani Olmo creating multiple chances. At one point during the first half, Olmo was inches from scoring the opening goal but was denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma’s fantastic save. On the other hand, Italy did not have a single shot on goal for the first 30 minutes of the game.
After a strongly fought first half, it was Federico Chiesa and his scintillating curler to put the Azzurri ahead in the 60th minute. The goal resulted from a counterattack started by Donnarumma with a long throw. The ball reached Chiesa through deflection from Ciro Immobile. Chiesa turned, shot, and scored Italy’s first goal.
Spain immediately had a chance to equalise but failed as Oyarzabal couldn’t connect a header from 6 yards away. In the 79th minute, Spain equalised with an amazing goal from the super sub-Alvaro Morata, The precise one-two with Dani Olmo freed up Morata to slot the ball in the bottom corner. No one could score in the next 40 minutes as the match went to the penalties.
Both Andrea Belotti and Dani Olmo missed the opening penalties. The deadlock continued as the score was tied at 2-2 until Alvaro Morata missed Spain’s fourth penalty opening the door for Italy. The Azzurri captain stepped up, took his famous hop and calmly scored the penalty in the right bottom corner.
Despite the loss, Spain had a great tournament. With players like Aymeric Laporte, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia the future looks bright for Spain.
Under Mancini, the Italian side has been on a 33 game undefeated run. The Azzurri look like the most complete side in the Euros with the perfect balance of attack and defence. Italy has been a very formidable side and would be a difficult matchup against both England or Denmark on Sunday.