Following Italy’s hardfought win against rivals Spain in the first semifinal match of the Euro 2020, Completesports.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI here discusses five remarkable talking points from the thrilling semi-final tie at the Wembley Stadium which Gli Azzurri[The Blues] won 4-2 on penalties after it ended 1-1 inside regulation time.
Italy Still Undefeated In 33 Games
Mancini took over an unfancied Azzurri side and has turned them into one of the best sides in Europe. The Euro 2020 semifinal win over Spain extended Gli Azzurri unbeaten run to 33 matches.
The game saw Italy claim their sixth consecutive win at this year’s Euros.
Morata’s Tournament To Forget
Morata has never been the most prolific striker in the world despite bagging some vital goals during his career.
By no means does he possesses the clinical nature of a David Villa or a Fernando Torres in his prime.
Spain certainly created enough chances for him to score more than his fair share of goals and perhaps that finally caught up with him as Enrique utilised other options at Wembley.
Perhaps it was tactical or maybe Morata’s familiarity with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini was deemed a weakness.
Either way, a man who plays in attack for a leading nation who dominate the contest will always be under the spotlight when he’s not finding the net.
But when he came off the bench with Spain 1-0 down, the stage was set. His give and go with Olmo set him free and he comfortably slotted past Donnarumma.
Morata’s night would end on a low note however as his miss in the shootout proved decisive.
Spain, Italy Clash Of Styles
One of football’s oldest narratives – the break vs the ball.
Spain determined to keep possession, build slowly and eventually break down Gli Azzurri. Italy meanwhile, accepting that they will endure periods without the ball, but willing to chance their arm on the break.
That pattern continued throughout the contest and fittingly it was a counter-attack that would draw first blood.
Gianluigi Donnarumma rolling the ball out to set Italy on their way before Chiesa scored the opener goal. Spain’s intricate passing then led to the equaliser and took the game to extra-time.
Different methods, yes. But they all lead to the same result. The fact that the game needed penalties says it all.
Spain’s Lack Of ‘Cutting Edge’
If there is one aspect of the Spanish team which needs improvement it is the attacking third.
For all their intricate passing and possession play, Spain’s lack of cutting edge turned out to be their undoing.
Luiz Enrique’s side had the early chances to open scoring but poor finishing robbed them of that opportunity.
Though the introduction of Alvaro Morata provided some improvement, it is imperative the final third of the Spaniards needs serious attention.
Sergio Busquet Showed Class
One of the most outstanding performers for Spain against Italy was Barcelona star midfielder Sergio Busquet.
The Spanish captain showed why he is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world.
A member of the 2012 squad that emerged champions, Busquet brought his wealth of experience to bear.
Clever passes and smart ball retention were all on display from Busquet but sadly it was not enough to secure victory for Luiz Enrique’s men.
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