The European Championship delivered a first semifinal clash with two traditional heavyweights Italy and Spain coming toe-to-toe again for all the spoils for the fourth consecutive Euros, at Wembley on Tuesday 6 July.
Italy prevailed with 4-2 win on penalties after the march had finished 1-1 through extra time.
Federico Chiesa scored for Italy with a curling shot in the 60th minute but Alvaro Morata equalized for Spain in the 80th minute , dragging the match into penalties after a hard fought Extra time at Wembley Stadium in London.
The Azzurris turned up the game in the early minutes, with Barella hitting the woodwork in the 4th minute after he latched on a fantastic through-ball from Veratti from the left flank.
Spain revived, turned it on and began to take control in midfield. Oyarzabal missed a golden chance to put Spain ahead in the opening 10 minutes as he only had the goalkeeper to beat after finding himself alone right in the middle of the Italian box.
Danny Olmo was also denied by Italian goalkeeper, who delivered great reflexes, after the Spanish forward finds the ball in the middle of the Italian box.
Spain dominated possession at Wembley, made 3 attempts on goal in the first 25 minutes whiles the Azzurri came closest in the 44tn minute after Emerson and Insigne combined to make the first Italian attack down the left on the stroke of half time. Emerson clipped the woodwork with a shot across goal to send the match goalless on break.
Moments after the restart, chances continued to come and go for Spain as Sergio Busquets curled inches over following an explosive break by Oyarzabal, while Donnarumma showed safe handling to keep out the Real Sociedad forward’s effort from distance.
Federico Chiesa broke the deadlock with a superb goal in the 60th minute to put the Italians ahead at the Wembley Stadium in London. The Juventus winger picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box, cutting inside and curling home a shot into the far corner of the Spanish goal.
Just when it seemed that Italy had made it to the finals of Euro 2020 ,La Roja refused to lie down as Morata came on from the bench into the lime light and rifled a dramatic equalizer after an assist from Olmo in the 80th minute, to force extra time and into penalty shoot out.
Italy converted four penalties to lead 4 – 2 up, Olmo blasted his penalty kick off the post whiles Morata’s whipped effort was met with a rock-solid hand from Italian stopper Donnarumma.
Locutelli’s penalty kick for Italy initially was saved by Unai Simon but Olmo and Morata could not clung to the advantage to march into the finals.
In the end the Italian gladiators were the last ones standing at the Wembley’s football Coliseum.
Italy continue their unbeaten run for a 33rd game and have now reached their 10th major tournament final (World Cup/Euros) .
The Azzurris were winners on the night with a shoot out success against Spain, setting up either an English or Denmark final.
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson (Tolói 74); Barella (Locatelli 85), Jorginho, Verratti (Pessina 74); Chiesa (Bernardeschi 107), Immobile (Berardi 61), Insigne (Belotti 85)
Spain: Unai Simón; Azpilicueta (Llorente 85), Eric García (Pau Torres 109), Laporte, Jordi Alba; Koke (Rodri 70), Sergio Busquets (Thiago 106), Pedri; Oyarzabal (Moreno 70), Olmo, Ferran Torres (Morata 62)
Acknowledgement : Betway Ghana ( Headline Sponsor )
Mark F. | SilverFM