Italy and Spain fought a huge, high-quality, huge-paced battle with each other in the first semi-finals of the European Championship. The Spaniards fought for a big lead, but the brilliantly contrasting Italians took the lead in the second half, which was offset by the energy-intensive Spanish national team ten minutes before the end of regular time. The overtime also brought a great game, but no goal was scored, the final result was 1-1. The penalties were shot better by the Italians, winning the duel 4-2 and reaching the finals.
Italy and Spain – The history of the European Championships has a long tradition of clashes between the two national teams. They’ve never stumbled upon each other during qualifiers, but they have the most common pair of continental tournaments. Twice the Italians won, once the Spaniards, three times. These were generally not goal-rich matches, except for the 2012 European Championship final, in which the Spaniards advanced to the Italians by 4-0. The winners’ goals were scored by David Silva, teammate Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata. Luis Enrique is currently the captain of this match. Captain Sergio Busquets also played a match nine years ago. Among the Italians, the two routine midfielders, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, took the role, both of whom were there on the pitch throughout.
Although the match was held at Wembley Stadium in London, authorities in Rome ordered emergency security preparedness. The Circus Maximus area in the city center was closed in the afternoon. The ancient equestrian track hosted an open-air performance by the Opera Theater in the evenings, but organizers feared that in the event of the national team’s eventual success, fans would storm the Circus Maximus field, where they traditionally celebrate.
You can bet on the outcome of each match on the UEFA website, and most of the voters have bet on a 2-1 Italian victory. The odds were evened out anyway, with UEFA not allowing either team to train at Wembley the day before the match. In the match itself, only Italians and Spaniards living in England could support because of the quarantine rules in force in the country, but of course they also created a great atmosphere.
The two federal captains, Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique, both stated in advance that the team with more than the ball will win. If that was really the decision he had to make, then the Italians had no chance, as by a quarter of an hour the Spaniards were already in possession of seventy-five percent possession. Still, not long after goalkeeper Simon’s mistake, the Italian national team was able to toss a situation and then on the other side Olmo’s close shot was nicely defended by Donnarumma. It turned out that Mancini was anesthetized, as the Spaniards owed their great dominance not only to themselves but also to the tactics of the opponent. The Azzuriks didn’t have much possession of the ball either, they speculated on quick counter-attacks, and the other issue is that the Spanish national team was prepared for this draw. Thus, despite the few situations, the teams came up with an extremely good pace, despite the few situations.
Even after the break, the picture didn’t change, the game was constantly rippling, two highly knowledgeable, well-organized bands fought hard to get a goal. In the 60th minute, the Italians succeeded and took the opportunity: in a very quick counter end, Chiesa fired a parade from 12 yards to the left of the goal – 1-0. Five minutes later, Oyarzabal headed for the ball next to the ball, he could have leveled quickly. The Spaniards mobilized tremendous energies, the Italian team was dangerously counterattacking, there was no empty moment of the match. Spain’s efforts were crowned with success in the 80th minute, when Olmo parade in front of the departing Morata, and he calmly shot from 10 meters into the bottom right corner – 1-1.
There was a huge fight in his hair as well, but no goal was scored, so the overtime followed. The players continued to dictate as much pace as if they had started the match at that time. After a great turmoil in the 98th minute, the Italians were lucky to swim the goal, the ball hitting back and forth finally rolled out next to the right goal post. The picture didn’t change, the Spaniards went ahead and the Azzuris defended and then tried to sway when they grabbed the ball. In the 110th minute, Italy may have become intoxicated for a second, but Berardi found himself in the net from ambush. For the last ten minutes, however, the teams were obviously very tired and left the decision to the penalties. The Italians started and Locatelli’s shot was blocked by Simón, then Olmo bombed over the bar. Belotti, Gerard Moreno, Bonucci, Thiago, Bernardeschi made no mistake, but Donnarumma saved Morata’s shot. Jorginho rolled calmly into the net, giving Italy a 4-2 win in the duel and reaching the finals, with the unbeaten Spaniards knocked out.
European Championship semifinal: Italy-Spain 1-1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-1), with penalties: 4-2, London, Wembley Stadium v. Felix Brych. Scorer: Chiesa (60th) and Morata (80th). The England-Denmark semi-final will be played at 9pm on Wednesday, also at Wembley Stadium.
Source: Magyar Nemzet by magyarnemzet.hu.
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