After an enthralling semi-final at a wild Wembley, Italy defeated Spain on penalties to advance to the Euro 2020 final.
Jorginho walked up to score after Spain Alvaro Morata’s penalty was saved, setting up a final with either England or Denmark in London on Sunday. With a wonderful curled finish to cap off a swift counter, Federico Chiesa appeared as if he had put Italy – who are unbeaten in 33 games – to the final in normal time.
After a one-two with Dani Olmo, Morata came off the bench to equalize with 10 minutes remaining. However, the Juventus forward’s missed penalty in the shootout robbed Spain a place in the final for the first time in their history. Despite tickets still being on sale during the day and supporters being unable to fly from either country without having to quarantine for too long to witness the game, fears of an empty stadium and a subdued crowd were unwarranted.
Italy, led by Roberto Mancini, has been perhaps the greatest team in the tournament, having won their previous 13 games, and they deserve to be in the final. However, this was the most difficult game they’d ever faced, and they only managed one shot in the time between Morata’s equalizer and the shootout.
It’s a rather depressing finale to Morata’s Euro campaign. He’s squandered multiple opportunities throughout the tournament, and his family has had to deal with threats from fans, and his equaliser appeared set to change the narrative before he missed from the spot.
Spain has progressed throughout the competition and will finish as the leading scorers with 13 goals. Nonetheless, it should have been a lot more. They scored ten goals in two games and have struggled in front of goal otherwise. At Euro 2020, Slovakia is the only team they have defeated in 90 minutes. Six of them are still in the Spanish Olympic football squad, including Olmo, Simon, Oyarzabal, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, and Pedri, who all played on Tuesday. In 17 days, the competition in Tokyo will begin.
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