The robbery almost came to an end, but in the end it was she who was elated. Dominated for 120 minutes, Italy ended up having the skin of Spain on penalties (1-1, 4-2 tab), Tuesday July 6 in the semi-finals of Euro 2021. After having displayed their ease in creating and mastering the game, Roberto Mancini’s players have shown that they are capable of suffering in order to win, even if it means leaving possession of the ball to the opponent.
Because that was the big question before the game. Which of these two teams used to dictating the game will end up grabbing the leather? After five minutes of play, the answer was given with a dominating Spain and Italy pushed to play against employment. But Luis Enrique’s players never managed to take advantage of it in the first half, despite 65% possession and only one shot suffered. Above all, they only got one clear opportunity with a point blank strike from Dani Olmo pushed to his right by a Gianluigi Donnarumma who left very quickly on the ground (25th).
The break allowed the Italians to regain a little serenity and especially to solve the problem of the positioning of Olmo, constantly free between defenders and midfielders thanks to his role of false number nine. As La Roja continued to confiscate the ball without realizing their domination, the punishment came from the foot of Federico Chiesa. Liberator in overtime against Austria in the round of 16 (0-0, 2-1 ap), the winger of Juventus Turin played him opportunist before unleashing an unstoppable curled shot, leaving Unai Simon dumbfounded in front of his goal ( 60th).
10 – Italy are only the 2nd team to reach the final of at least 10 different EURO & World Cup editions, after Germany (14). Grazie. pic.twitter.com/sacJj57eNy
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) July 6, 2021
While the robbery was on track, Roberto Mancini’s players only managed to keep the lead for twenty minutes. So far guided by the light of the prodigy Pedri, who had to wait until the 102nd minute to miss his first pass, the Spaniards relied on Alvaro Morata, who came into play two minutes after the opening goal. Criticized for his versatility, the latter arose in the heart of the Italian defense after a service inspired by Dani Olmo ten minutes from the end of regulation time (80th).
As against Croatia and Switzerland in their first two games of the finals, Spain’s fate was drawn in overtime. But this time the exultation gave way to disillusion. The penalty fell on penalties after having dominated too sterilely until the 120th minute.
While Unai Simon had stopped the first attempt of the session of Manuel Locatelli, the failures of Dani Olmo and Alvaro Morata condemned the Spaniards to attend, dumbfounded, the explosion of Italian joy. Now undefeated for 33 matches, Mancini’s men have one final step to climb to afford a second European title, after 1968.