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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Italy Beat Spain In Penalty Shootout To Qualify For Euro 2020 Final

 Italy won 4-2 on penalties in the Euro 2020 semi-final; Federico Chiesa's opening goal was cancelled out by Alvaro Morata, who had started the game on the bench; Italy will face either England or Denmark in Sunday's final at Wembley.

Before the tournament began, World Cup winners France were rightly favourites to add another European crown to their collection. World No1 Belgium were also fancied, with holders Portugal and tournament specialists Germany among the popular picks. There were also, as

ever, the believers England's years of hurt would finally end.

And then there was Italy. Their absence from the 2018 World Cup was an embarrassment but also perceived as a reflection of the limits of their current crop. Instead, a quiet renaissance was under way. Roberto Mancini had restored belief and added energy to their play. They had racked up a long string of matches unbeaten and built confidence. They were labelled as dark horses.

Well they've hit the front for the final stretch of this race to Euro 2020 glory.

An assured series of wins in the group stage, in which they didn't concede a goal, built the platform. A surprisingly tricky last-16 tie with Austria demonstrated their strength in depth and steel. An impressive win over Belgium underlined their quality - and streetwise skills to get over the line. And they battled hard before holding their nerve from the spot to come past Spain in the semis.

Lawal Kolawole

fear Italy

Kingsley Mmeremikwu

The boys that didn't play anything
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