EM 2021 | Italy defeated Spain in a penalty drama


The indomitable Italy overthrew the next giant in one magical night and dreams of a final triumph. The four-time world champion stopped the Spanish passing machine in the 4-2 penalty shootout at Wembley with fiery passion and luck at the right time.

The Squadra Azzurra can celebrate their second European Championship title after 1968 on Sunday: The final hurdle for the Italians, who are now unbeaten in 33 games in a row, is England or Denmark in the same place.

Italy gave the technically superior, but too inconsistent opponent in the first semifinals a great fight. The defense only held out with difficulty in front of 58,000 spectators – Jorginho then sent the entire country into ecstasy in roulette from the point. Dani Olmo and Álvaro Morata had missed for Spain.



Federico Chiesa (60th) scored in regular time for the Azzurri, Morata (80th) for the disappointed Spaniards, who would have made it into the European Championship final for the fifth time.

The duel between two active and attacking possession teams kept what it had promised. “We want the ball, we need it!” Luis Enrique had said imploringly. He got it, but his players simply didn’t carry it into goal for a long time.

Spain coach surprised by taking Morata out of the starting XI for the first time, the hapless Mikel Oyarzabal stormed. Roberto Mancini, on the other hand, replaced left-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who had torn his Achilles tendon in the quarter-finals against Belgium (2-1), with Emerson. He hit the crossbar just before the break (45th).

Spain presses – Italy lurks

The native Brazilian from Chelsea was also the one who initiated the first big chance: Nicolo Barella, who failed on the post, was offside when he passed through the ball. Spain stretched their white pass net across the pitch, passed the ball – Italy stormed straight forward after winning the ball, fanatically driven by the majority of the spectators.

However, Spain did not play the paralyzing Tiki-Taka of yore, but quickly looked for the moment for the brilliant pass to the top. Oyarzabal failed to take the ball with him in the perfect center forward position (13th), otherwise he would have been alone in front of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.



The Spaniards pressed in a game at a high technical level and forced through Koke, the agile Pedri or Sergio Busquets Italian bad passes in the first line of defense. Donnarumma had to iron out his own weakness against Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig) (25th).

Relief of the Azzurri was therefore less common, but remained extremely dangerous: When Unai Simon ran out of his goal over-motivated, however, no one was found for the conclusion (20th), and Lorenzo Insigne ran the ball out (34th). Emerson hit the crossbar.

No chances in extra time

For the first time Italy had real problems in the tournament, with the extremely experienced central defense Giorgio Chiellini / Leonardo Bonucci doing hard work. Even after the break: Olmo, Busquets, Koke brought the Azzurri into dire straits within minutes. Chiesa forced Simon to parry on the other side (53rd). Seven minutes later, the Juventus striker flicked the ball from the left into the far corner.

Spain’s “Furia Roja” reacted angrily. Enrique threw Morata into play for Ferran Torres, later also Gerard Moreno and Rodrigo. Oyarzabal missed a perfect chip flank by a hair’s breadth from Kokes (65th) – actually a safe goal. Italy saw themselves pushed into their own penalty area, where the “old men” threw themselves into every shot. Olmo also felt this (67th).

The Italians were looking for stability, Spain desperately the way over the opposing goal line. Opportunities abounded, but the highly talented team only played one attack against the now very low opponents. The extension was characterized by waiting.


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