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Italy seal Euro 2020 final berth after shootout win over Spain

Italy
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Italy edged Spain in a penalty shootout to seal a spot in the Euro 2020 final after the semi-final at Wembley needed 1-1 AET.

The Azzuri came into the game as the favourites following an amazing unbeaten run and having dispatched of the top ranked Belgium in the previous round.

It was, however, the Spaniards who took control of the first half after weathering a good opening 10 minutes from the Italians.

While Luis Enirque’s men moved the ball around with precision and pace, they were lacking a cutting edge in front of goal with Dani Olmo’s shot in the 25th minute the only save of note that Gianluigi Donnarumma was forced into.

As the half wore on Roberto Mancini’s men started to look more threatening and came close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half time as Ederson struck the cross bar with a shot from an acute angle.

Both coaches would have wanted more in front of goal from their sides, and it didn’t take long for Mancini’s side to respond as they snatched the lead, against the run of play, with 60 minutes gone. Federico Chiesa latching onto a lose ball inside the box before curling his shot expertly passed Unai Simon in the Spanish goal.

Spain then looked to regain control of the tempo of the game while the Italians looked to remain solid while still posing a threat on the counter.

After turning to the substitutes bench, Enrique was eventually rewarded as sub Alvaro Morata played a one-two with Olmo to get in behind the Italy defence before calmly slotting his shot into the bottom corner with 10 minutes to go.

The sides couldn’t be separated in the 90 as the first Euro 2020 semi-final headed into extra time.

The action clearly caught up with both sides in the added period as the pace of the game significantly dropped with the players seemingly weary of not making any mistake.

Spain may have been able to dominate possession of the ball in extra-time but with chances hard to come by, the match headed into a penalty shoot-out.

Dani Olmo and Locatelli missed the opening spot kicks for their sides, but the players managed to keep their nerve slotting the next two penalties each before Morata stepped up and had his spot kick saved by Donnarumma leaving Jorginho with the task of rolling the ball into the bottom corner with his trade mark penalty technique to send his side into the finals.