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Classy Italy edges Belgium in Euro 2020 quarterfinals

Spain survives Switzerland penalty shootout scare to qualify for semis

Italy set up a blockbuster Euro 2020 semifinal clash against Spain after both sides won their respective quarterfinals. Italy defeated tournament favourites Belgium, and Spain defeated Switzerland on penalties to progress to the semifinals.

Italy were facing their first big test at the Euros against the team ranked #1 in the world. They showed they were up to the test early on when Leonardo Bonucci turned home a Lorenzo Insigne freekick, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Italy eventually took the lead through Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella after 31 minutes, before Insigne doubled their lead with a brilliant curler from outside the box in the 44th minute. Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for the Red Devils from the penalty spot in first-half added time, and Belgium were unable to find a way past the brick wall that was the Italian defensive pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. The Azzurri are undefeated in 32 matches and face a semifinal against Spain.

Spain defeated Switzerland 3-1 on penalties after the heroics of Unai Simon in the penalty shootout. The match ended 1-1 after 120 minutes of football. Spain took the lead after Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria put the ball through his own net after just 8 minutes. Switzerland found an equaliser through winger Xherdan Shaqiri after 68 minutes, and saw midfielder Remo Freuler receive his marching orders after 77 minutes. The Swiss held on to force extra time and then penalties. Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon saved from Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji, while Ruben Vargas blazed his penalty over the crossbar. Mikel Oyarzabal scored the winning penalty for Spain as they remain hopeful of winning the title.

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