Italy progressed to the final of Euro 2020 after beating Spain 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley, with England or Denmark awaiting in Sunday’s showpiece.
Roberto Mancini’s men led through Federico Chiesa’s fine curling strike before Alvaro Morata levelled for Spain. After no goals followed in extra-time, Dani Olmo and Morata missed from the spot in a dramatic shootout as Jorginho coolly stroked home to send Italy through.
Most things pointed to a cagey opening but it was anything but as both sides flew out of the traps. And Nicolo Barella struck the post for Italy in just the fourth minute, only for the assistant to raise his flag for offside.
But it was an early warning for Spain, who attempted to take the sting out of the game with possession football.
Mikel Oyarzabal should have done better on 13 minutes. But his first touch let him down after Pedri’s superb ball put him through on goal.
La Roja continued to dominate but were indebted to captain Sergio Busquets on 21 minutes. He nicked the ball away from Barella as the Inter man was about to pull the trigger.
The match continued at a frenetic pace but neither side could find the net in the opening 45 minutes.
Chiesa strikes as Italy draw first blood
That all changed on the hour mark as Italy took the lead through Chiesa. And it was a superb counter that landed them the opener.
Gianluigi Donnarumma rolled the ball out to Marco Verratti and his ball was initially cut out by Aymeric Laporte. However, Chiesa picked up the pieces before curling brilliantly past a helpless Unai Simon.
The Spaniards looked to hit back but Oyarzabal fluffed his lines once again after a cross by Koke. The Real Sociedad man missed the ball completely with the goal at his mercy.
Spain continued to miss chances, with Dani Olmo firing high into the Wembley night sky. But they finally broke through on 80 minutes and it was substitute Alvaro Morata who drew them level.
Morata to the rescue for Spain
The Juve man collected a give-and-go with Olmo before slotting past Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Spain pushed hard for a winner but could not find another as the game went into extra time.
Jose Enrique’s men came close to edging ahead in the seventh minute of the extended period when Olmo’s driven free-kick from wide on the left was pushed out by Donnarumma and Morata couldn’t force home the rebound.
Morata was a threat in the air again as Donnarumma cleared another dangerous ball in, with Italy seemingly running on empty.
Domenico Berardi had a strike blocked as the Italians showed some signs of life at the start of the second period of extra time, while moments the same player saw a goal rightly ruled out for offside.
But no further opportunities were created as the semi-final tie went to penalties.
The shootout got off to a bad start for both sides as Manuel Locatelli’s effort was saved by Simon before Olmo blazed over.
Belotti, Gerard Moreno, Bonucci, Thiago, Bernardeschi all traded spot-kicks vefore Morata’s week effort was palmed out by Donnarumma.
That gave Jorginho the chance to win it for Italy and he calmly stroked the ball past Simon to send the Italy fans into raptures and the Spanish heartbroken.