Five things we learned as Italy edge past Spain on penalties

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Five things we learned as Italy edge past Spain on penalties

If a football purist could bottle ninety minutes of football, then the game that played out between Italy and Spain would be high up on their list. The Italians took the lead through a fantastic Federico Chiesa finish, curled into the top right hand corner.

Spain dominated the game from thereon in, and netted a fully-deserved equaliser when Dani Olmo played Alvaro Morata through on goal, with the Juventus forward cooly slotting past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Perhaps fittingly, the best game of the tournament went the distance, with Italy and Spain having to be separated by penalties. After a miss apeice, Alvaro Morata went on to miss the fourth spot kick, while Jorginho’s conversion directly after sent Italy into the final, and Italians into euphoria

Here are 5 things 101 picked out from the tie

1. Federico Chiesa could explode into life next season

Federico Chiesa is a player that has always been destined for great things, and cemented his place in Juventus’s starting eleven last campaign, starting 33 times for the Old Lady.

Five things we learned as Italy edge past Spain on penalties

Italy’s midfielder Federico Chiesa (L) celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Italy and Austria at Wembley Stadium in London on June 26, 2021. (Photo by Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP) (Photo by FRANK AUGSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Nine goals and nine assists represent a good return for the Italian winger, but certainly did not set Serie A ablaze. However, if this tournament is anything to go by, this could change next season.

Chiesa was unplayable at times, even for a defender as accomplished as Aymeric Laporte. Add this performance to that in extra time of Italy’s tie with Austria, and it is seems as though Chiesa is growing into the player that many saw at Fiorentina.

2. Sergio Busquets is far from past it

It is easy to describe any midfielder over the age of 30 as “past it” or “heading downhill”, however Sergio Busquets rolled back the years with a rolls-royce performance as he dominated the Italian midfield trio in the first half.

The Barcelona veteran was all over the pitch, despite speed not being his strongest suit, demonstrating the off-the-ball intelligence that Busquets has possessed since he first burst through in Catalunya.

3. Italy will face England or Denmark on Sunday

While the football on show on Sunday may not be of the same quality as it was tonight, X will face either England or Denmark in the final of Euro2020.

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The great footballing nation, who few gave a chance heading into the competition, are now suddenly one step away from lifting a major European trophy for the first time since XX.

Standing in their way could be an England side accompanied by a raucous crowd at Wembley stadium, or a Danish side looking to complete a fairytale after their midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in the opening game of their tournament.

Whoever they end up facing, Italy will certainly fancy themselves to lift a major trophy for the first time since 2006.

4. Italy are the favourite for final

No matter who won this semi-final, it seems clear the winner of it was to be favourite for the final, which is due to be played on Sunday evening.

The high quality of football on show, which left pundits, fans and reporters alike purring, is far above the levels that either England or Denmark have shown to date in the tournament. Of course, across one game it is not necessarily the better football team that win, but it will certainly give their fellow finalists something to think about.

Even without Leonardo Spinazzola, Italy will represent a tough challenge for whoever they face.

5. Spain’s side is one to watch in 2024

It seems unfair to suggest that Spain were not really looking at this tournament as one that they could win, with the nation in the midst of a rebuild.

However, La Furia Roja have offered a fantastic account of themselves, and can perhaps call upon some of the most gifted youngsters in Europe.

Pedri is, of course, the player that has caught the eye this tournament, but Dani Olmo was the standout performer against the Azzurri. The 23-year-old was central to Spain’s attacking fluidity, knitting together their attacks across the game as they looked to penetrate the Spanish backline.

Add to this the talent of Ferran Torres (21-years-old), Pau Torres (24 years old) and Brahim Diaz (currently amongst the U21 squad), and 2024 could well prove to be another fantastic tournament for Spain, where they will feel much more confident in their chances.

Read more:

Cesar Azpilicueta outlines similarities between Chelsea teammate and Sergio Busquets

Federico Chiesa follows in father’s footsteps as Italy break triple record to send stout Austria packing

This article was edited by
Josh Barker.

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