Euro 2020FootballNEWS

Shootout heartbreak for Spain as Italy progresses to Euro 2020 final

Italy to face winner of England-Denmark match in final

Italy defeated Spain 4-2 on penalties after their first Euro 2020 semifinal ended in a 1-1 stalemate at Wembley Stadium to qualify for their first major final since the Euro 2012 and keep their unbeaten run going.

In a tactical battle that saw Spain gain complete control of the midfield through their pressing, passing and counter-pressing, Italy were limited in the first half to a single shot which hit the frame of the goal. The Azzurri, however, found a way to open the scoring when a fast break saw the ball fall kindly for Juventus winger Federico Chiesa, and the youngster arrowed a shot into the far corner, giving Unai Simon no chance after 60 minutes. Spain drew themselves level through substitute Alvaro Morata after some intricate passing tore through the Italian rearguard, and the striker sent the keeper the wrong way with ten minutes of regulation time remaining on the clock. Both sides could not find a winner in the remaining time and extra time, and the game went to penalties.

Highly-rated Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli stepped up to take the first penalty but placed it too close to Spanish keeper Simon who made a good save. The first Spanish taker Dani Olmo blazed his effort wildly over the crossbar to leave the scores level. Andrea Belotti, Leonardo Bonucci and Federico Bernardeschi scored for Italy as Gerard Moreno and Thiago Alcantara scored for Spain before Morata struck his penalty without conviction, allowing Gianluigi Donnarumma to make a comfortable save. Jorginho stepped up with ice in his veins and calmly sent Simon the wrong way to seal a 4-2 triumph for Italy.

Italy have remained undefeated in their last 33 games and are through to the final of a competition where very few tipped them to reach this stage. They have now qualified for the final of a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2012, when they were hammered 4-0 by Spain. Italy now awaits the winner of the other semifinal between England and Denmark.

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