Alan Shearer has blasted Italy striker Ciro Immobile after the Azzurri star appeared to feign injury against Belgium on Friday.
Superb goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne were enough to see Italy defeat Belgium 2-1 to land a place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
The Azzurri’s win, in a breath-taking match, lines up a titanic tussle with Spain for a place in the final.
The Munich showdown was one of the matches of the tournament so far, but one blot on the copy book was Immobile’s antics in the first half.
Immobile was challenging for a ball in the box with a number of Belgium defenders. There was minimal contact, but the forward then rolled around on the floor just moments before Barella pounced for the Italian’s opener.
The Lazio striker stayed down on the floor, before peeking to see Barella’s striker hit the net. He then jumped up and ran over into the corner to join in the celebrations with his team.
The incident didn’t go down well with Shearer, who said on the BBC: “I don’t even want to laugh at that because that is pathetic.
“You can see him have a look at the referee before he even goes down. It’s pathetically embarrassing, that’s what it is!”
From Immobile to Mobile real real quick!! This is everything that is wrong with football in 2021 guys!! 😔 pic.twitter.com/aYZryEt8vr
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) July 2, 2021
Italy extended their unbeaten run to 32 games and became the first team to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches.
Shearer added: “It was a magnificent game of football, end to end.
“The Italians had to use all of their know-how and experience in that last 10 or 15 minutes.
“The two old guys at the back were brilliant. It was a big talking point whether Lukaku was going to get in behind them and whether they were going to get done for pace.
“But they stood firm with everything that the Belgians threw at them in the last 10 or 15 minutes. They were magnificent.”
More to come from Italy
What’s more, Roberto Mancini is confident there is more to come from his side.
Asked at his post-match press conference afterwards what he had seen in his team to persuade him better times were around the corner, head coach Mancini said: “The team has progressed game in, game out. Even when there have been tricky matches, the team has always got better – and there is still room for improvement.
“That’s what I saw in my squad, the desire to play well, to try to bounce back after the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup – it was all of those ingredients. But we can still do better.”
Italy will now head into a last-four showdown with Spain at Wembley on Tuesday with Mancini confident they have what it will take to progress.
He said: “First and foremost, we will go to Wembley safe in the knowledge that we are a team that can still offer a lot in this tournament.
“We know that we will be up against top-class opposition once again because Spain, like Belgium, are very tricky opponents.
“But it’s very important that we rest up before this semi-final and get ready for it.”