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EURO 2024

Italy shoot-out Spain to reach Euro 2020 final!

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Italy are in the final after an energy sapping semi-final duel with Spain.

They secured a place in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final after needing a penalty shoot out to see off Spain

Jorginho slotted home the winning penalty at Wembley to continue his excellent year after Spain twice missed from 12 yards.

Federico Chiesa had given the Italian’s a second-half lead in what was a highly entertaining game and they look set to see it out.

Spain, for all their possession and territory, had rarely forced Gianluigi Donnarumma into a save. Alvaro Morata was the man to answer his nation’s call however after combining with the impressive Dani Olmo.

Luis Enrique’s side continued to show more ambition as the game drew to a close and that theme continued into extra-time.

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The Azzurri, on a lengthy unbeaten run, must’ve forgotten what it was like to lose and they weren’t about to start remembering.

In the shootout, each team’s first taker missed. This was followed by four successful spot-kicks before Morata failed to convert, allowing Jorginho to send Italy to the final. The Azzurri will play either Denmark or England on Sunday, depending on the outcome of Wednesday’s other semi-final.

The opening 45 minutes were enthralling, although neither side found the back of the net. Pedri pulled the strings for Spain and he teed up Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo for his side’s best chances of the half.

Meanwhile, Italy looked dangerous on the break with Emerson hitting the woodwork just before the break.

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In the second half things were quite open and on the hour mark the Azzurri grabbed the game’s opener. Federico Chiesa was the scorer, latching onto a loose ball in the box and curling an unstoppable effort into the far corner.

Spain pressed hard for an equaliser and eventually found a breakthrough with substitute Alvaro Morata finishing off a free-flowing move with ten minutes on the clock.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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