Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in a great Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley on Tuesday as Jorginho converted the decisive kick to take the Azzurri to the final of a tournament in which they were the greats.
He was not always at the top in this game, however, with Spain the best side for big spells in an epic competition before Juventus coach Federico Chiesa gave Italy the lead with a great one-hour finish in a match they watched. crowd almost 58,000.
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The malicious Alvaro Morata, who fell from the original line-up here, came off the bench to equalize with 10 minutes of regular time.
Without further scoring in extra time there were no penalties for Spain, who had beaten Switzerland in a quarter-final spin.
They had also beaten Italy on penalties at Euro 2008, but this time lost to Dani Olmo and then Morata saw Spain relinquish the advantage they had been given when Manuel Locatelli failed with the first kick in the attack.
The Italians celebrated in the end with a large number of their UK-based supporters, and a team renewed under Roberto Mancini continues to dream of winning its first European Championship title since 1968.
Now undefeated in 33 games, it advances to Sunday’s final to face either England or Denmark, who meet in Wednesday’s second draw.
It is nine years since Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev to win a third consecutive major tournament and this was the fourth consecutive European Championship in which these stations met.
Wembley comes to life
This time they did it on the cold of a wet night in July in London, but the atmosphere at Wembley was more than just a wet squib.
Both coaches had spoken on the eve of this semi-final about their frustration that there would be no supportive travelers, given the mandatory quarantine for all visitors to the UK.
However, they were not based on the large Spanish and Italian communities already in Britain, and a total of 20,000 fans of both teams allowed the crowd of 57,811 at Wembley.
They added a noise and a color that are unfortunately missing in major sporting events since the start of the pandemic and this gave the perfect stage.
The football itself was absorbing and of excellent quality, especially in the middle point where the excellent trio of Italy Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Nicolo Barella met in their match in Sergio Busquets, Koke and Pedri of Spain.
The latter, just 18 years old, is a terrific talent and his touch and calm on the ball indicate that he will be the leader of Spain for many more years.
Morata from hero to villain
What was missing from the game in the first half was the drama in front of goal, although the Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma did something important besides denying Dani Olmo in the 25th minute.
Italy lost Leonardo Spinazola, his outstanding left-back who suffered a torn Achilles tendon against Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Spain coach Luis Enrique dropped Morata and selected Mikel Oyarzabal to start from the right side of the front.
Spain had enjoyed the best of the game, but Italy went ahead with the goal of the highest quality.
A move that started with the throwing of Donnarumma saw Lorenzo Insigne playing Ciro Immobile back.
Immobile was sent off by Aymeric Laporte, but the ball bounced off the post of Chiesa and took the place of Unai Simon’s goal.
The Italian fans, gathered en masse at this end of Wembley, broke out in celebration.
Spain reacted by sending Morata and Gerard Moreno, and just as Italy saw victory, Morata was the man to take the leveling.
After collecting the ball in the middle of the opposing team, Morata played one or two with Olmo as he cut the defense and arrived.
He was a worthy equalizer, and Spain had a spring in their step to move on to extra time, but they could not get that in the decisive shot.