UEFA Euro 2020 semis: Italy continues its dominant run, beats Spain to reach final
The 2020 UEFA Euro is into its semi-final stage, as the first contest was held on Tuesday. Two former champions Italy and Spain, collided against each other, while Italy continued with its unbeaten momentum to reach the final.
As the UEFA Euro 2020 enters its business-end phase, the semi-finals are underway, while the opening game was held on Tuesday. It was two former champions, Italy and Spain, who clashed against each other at the Wembley Stadium in London.
It was expected to be a close contest, while it eventually turned out to be so, as the winner had to be decided through penalties. Let us take a look at how it all unfolded.
The opening half was intense, as just three encouraging attempts were made. A couple of shots from the Italians went pegging as both were denied by the bar post, while a Spanish attack was saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, as it all ended goalless at half-time.
Both sides picked up the ante in the following half, with seven attacks being made. It was in the 60th minute when Federico Chiesa fired the Italians into the lead.
Three more attacks followed, with a couple of Italian attempts denied by Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon. Nevertheless, Álvaro Morata levelled it in the 80th minute, thanks to Daniel Olmo's assist, as it finished square at half-time.
The extra time was not encouraging enough. While Spain's attempted effort was blocked in the first half, Italy's attack in the subsequent half was ruled out for an offside, as it all went into the penalty shootout.
The shootout began on an exciting note, with Manuel Locatelli and Daniel Olmo missing for Italy and Spain, respectively. However, after some successful attempts followed from both sides, Álvaro Morata missed Spain's penultimate penalty, with Jorginho firing in the winner to seal Italy's final berth.
- Leonardo Bonucci played his 17th Euro game for Italy, the joint-most from the nation alongside Gianluigi Buffon.
- For Spain, Jordi Alba joined Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fàbregas as most appearances for Spain in the Euro (16).
- Giorgio Chiellini played his fifth game against Spain, the most by a player against a particular side in Euro.
- Italy made its first attempt of the match in the 45th minute through Emerson, its second-longest wait for the same in Euro history after the 48th-minute attempt against Netherland in 2000.
- Italy is the second side after France in 2000 to have five-plus players score a couple or more in a single Euro edition.
- Morata became the first Spanish to score for club and country at Wembley.
- Morata also becomes the highest-scoring Spanish in Euro (6), overtaking Fernando Torres (5).
- It was the first time Spain failed to progress through the semis of the Euro/World Cup.
- Italy has now qualified for its tenth Euro/World Cup final, the second most European after Germany (14).
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