Date: 6th July 2021 at 9:00pm
Written by:

Hello everyone and welcome to Forza Italian Football‘s  live blog. On this blog, we’ll have live updates from Italy vs Spain, well as all the build-up, previews and team news ahead of the Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley.

Italy vs Spain, Euro 2020 Semi-final: Final Score 1-1 (Italy Win 4-2 On Penalties)

It took a penalty shootout, but Italy have overcome Spain to reach the Euro 2020 final, where they will face England or Denmark.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini: “There are matches where you have to suffer. We deserved to be here, we knew it was going to be a tough match and we knew it would be like this. It wasn’t easy, but hardly anyone believed in us and we have reached the final. We are happy for all Italians who have supported us and are continuing to do so.”

Star Of The Match – Federico Chiesa

Federico Chiesa: “We have brought pride back to this team. This is a great team. Spain have wonderful players but we were the team that came through, after penalties. In the end we were rewarded. I dedicate this Star of the Match award to [Leonardo] Spinazzola, or rather I dedicate this victory to him because he would have given us so much. We played for him and hope to give him more joy in the final.

“It’s the best night of my life, playing for sixty million Italians is a beautiful dream. I would never have thought about it, it’s the best night of my career.”

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to Rai: “It is indescribable. I was calm because I knew that I could help this fantastic team. I thank everyone, all the people who supported us. We gave our all and we are one step away from achieving our dream. Spain are very strong but Italy have determination and we never give up. I don’t want to speak about the final yet, just enjoy this moment.”

IT’S ALL OVER, ITALY ARE INTO THE FINAL!

GOAL! Jorginho sends Italy into the final with the coolest of penalties! 4-2.

Miss! Donnarumma guesses the right way and keeps out a tame Morata penalty. 3-2.

GOAL! Bernardeschi fires the Azzurri ahead again with an effort high into the net. 3-2.

GOAL! A confident penalty from Thiago, as he rolls the ball into the corner. 2-2.

GOAL! Bonucci steps up and sends Simon the wrong way. 2-1.

GOAL! Moreno scores, but only just. Donnarumma almost got a hand to it. 1-1.

GOAL! Belotti makes no mistake in drilling into the bottom corner. 1-0.

Miss! It’s all square as Olmo blazes well over the crossbar. 0-0.

Miss! Locatelli steps up first but Simon gets a strong hand to his effort. 0-0.

Spain overcame Switzerland in the quarter-final via a shootout, but had a dreadful record from the spot prior to that.

120′ The final whistle goes and we have a penalty shootout. How are your nerves, Azzurri fans?

Time is almost up here, can anyone find a late winner and book a place in the final?

117′ Bonucci picks up a yellow card for a high boot on clubmate Morata.

114′ Huge clearance by Laporte, as the Manchester City centre-back uses his heel to stop Berardi playing Belotti through to race clear.

110′ Italy have the ball in the back of the net as a sliding Berardi fires beyond Simon. The Sassuolo forward was clearly offside, but the Azzurri are looking much better in this half.

108′ A rare Italy attack sees Toloi burst up field and find Bernardeschi to backheel into the danger zone, but Laporte does well to intercept. A final change for Spain, with Pau Torres replacing Garcia.

107′ Locatelli bundles Olmo over and Spain earn a freekick in a dangerous position. Bernardeschi enters the fray for Chiesa, who looked to have won it for Italy not so long ago.

106′ Thiago comes on for the excellent Busquets, Federico Bernardeschi is being prepared for Italy.

Half-time of extra-time, Italy are struggling to contain Spain and have seen little possession, as Luis Enrique’s men continue to press for a winner. Goalscorer Chiesa is limping and appears to be suffering with cramp.

102′ Spain are almost in again as Moreno’s cross is punched away by Donnarumma before Morata can nod in, whilst Bonucci blocks the follow up effort as Italy scramble.

100′ The Azzurri are showing signs of frustration as Berardi and Pessina commit fouls in quick succession, whilst Spain see all of the ball.

97′ Toloi goes into the book for a cynical foul on Olmo after a quick Spain break away. Olmo’s low freekick almost catches Donnarumma out and his parry leads to a scramble in the box, before the ball is eventually cleared behind.

95′ Problem for Belotti here as he lands awkwardly when jumping up for a header. The Torino striker is back on his feet now and Spain take control of possession.

91′ We’re underway again.

It finishes all square after 90 minutes and so we head into extra-time. Italy appeared to have one foot in the final but were pegged back late on, with a deserved goal for Spain. It has been an exciting match though, and we are in for another 30 minutes of this intriguing encounter.

90+3′ Belotti pinches the ball from Busquets and Italy are away, but a lofted pass is too far wide for Berardi.

90′ Into stoppage time here and Spain have huge calls for a penalty after Chiellini appeared to handle the ball as he made an interception.

85′ More changes for the Azzurri, as Andrea Belotti and Manuel Locatelli replace Barella and Insigne respectively. Spain also turn to the bench, as Marcos Llorente is introduced in place of Azpilicueta.

Italy had looked on course for the final but Morata’s goal has certainly changed the dynamic of the match. It had to be that man, didn’t it?

80′ GOAL. Morata redeems himself in style as he latches onto an excellent Olmo return pass to coolly slot the ball beyond Donnarumma and into the bottom corner. It has been coming.

77′ Busquets slips Morata in but the striker takes too long to unleash his shot, and can only win a corner. It comes to nothing, but Spain are not going away.

74′ Changes for Italy too. Matteo Pessina comes on for Verratti, Rafael Toloi takes the place of Emerson.

70′ Luis Enrique makes changes as his side chase an equaliser. Gerard Moreno replaces Oyarzabal whilst Koke goes off for Rodri.

68′ Huge chance and it’s that man Chiesa again. Having held the ball well, a wonderful through ball sets up Berardi but Simon pulls off a strong, if slightly unorthodox, save.

65′ Italy are living dangerously here. A poor clearance allows Koke to flick the ball back into the box and it flies just inches over the unmarked Oyarzabal’s head at the back post.

61′ Mancini turns to his bench and Domenico Berardi is introduced in place of Immobile, whilst Spain throw on Juventus striker Alvaro Morata for Torres.

60′ WHAT A STRIKE! Insigne collects the ball on halfway and releases Immobile, and whilst Laporte produces a fine tackle to stop him, Chiesa bends a magnificent effort beyond Simon to put Italy in the lead.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL AZZURRI

57′ Oyarzabal has an effort on goal but it’s comfortable for Donnarumma. Busquets is making everything tick in midfield though.

51′ Busquets becomes the first player to pick up a card after a strong challenge on Barella. Just moments later he curls a fine effort inches over the bar from Oyarzabal’s cutback. Spain continue to threaten.

49′ First real sight on goal for Immobile as he meets a lofted pass, but pressure from Laporte sees the Lazio man fire wide. Immediately at the other end, Di Lorenzo does well to clear a dangerous cross at the back post.

46′ We’re back underway here and both sides emerge unchanged.

Half-time: Italy 0-0 Spain: After the Azzurri made a bright start at Wembley, Spain really took control of that half and Mancini will be looking to shake things up after the break. Better finishing would have had Luis Enrique’s men clear at the interval.

44′ Crossbar! Insigne picks the ball up in space and releases Emerson in the box. His powerful strike clips the bar and goes behind, but the Chelsea man is claiming a corner. Closest Italy have come so far!

39′ A wonderful Spanish break away ends up at the feet of Oyarzabal in the box, but he blazes it high and wide. The less said about that one, the better…

34′ First time we’ve seen Insigne in this match, as he plays a clever one-two with Immobile but can’t stop the ball going out behind after bursting into the box. Some promising moments for the Azzurri here.

27′ Donnarumma is showing some nerves here as he gives the ball away again under no pressure.

25′ Gigio! The goalkeeper initially gives the ball away but makes amends with a fine save to deny the dangerous Olmo in the box.

20′ Chance! Emerson gets in behind Azpilicueta and Simon comes rushing out, allowing the full-back to square for Immobile. The striker is closed down before he can tap in, but it’s Italy best move so far!

15′ Spain are in again as Barella gives the ball straight to Ferran Torres, and the Manchester City forward’s strike from outside the box isn’t far wide.

13′ Big chance for Spain. Busquets finds Pedri and the teenager threads Oyarzabal into the Italian box, but the striker got the ball caught under his foot. A let off for Italy.

11′ Spain are starting to take a foothold in the match and are moving the ball nicely in the Azzurri’s half, though Donnarumma is yet to be tested.

6′ Italy have looked comfortable in attack but Spain are enjoying a short spell of possession here.

3′ Post! Emerson releases Nicolo Barella from deep and the Inter man takes the ball away from Simon and bends an effort against the post. However, the Sardinian is flagged offside, as Italy make a bright start.

1′ KICK OFF! After a typically rousing rendition of the Italian anthem, referee Felix Brych gets us underway.

It’s almost time for kick-off and Italy are potentially 90 minutes away from the final. How are we feeling Azzurri fans?

The starting line-ups are out and Italy coach Roberto Mancini makes one change, with Emerson stepping in at left-back for Leonardo Spinazzola following the serious injury suffered by the Roma man against Belgium last time out.

Spain, meanwhile have sprung a surprise on the Azzurri by dropping Juventus striker Alvaro Morata to the bench, with Mikel Oyarzabal set to lead the line for the 2012 champions.

The full teams are as follows:

Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne.

Spain: Simon; Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Laporte, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Koke, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Oyarzabal, Olmo.