Italy’s road to redemption after their failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup continues at the European Championships 2020. Roberto Mancini has turned the team around with injection of youth along with the experienced and has brought some flair to the squad apart from the gritty defence that they have been known for. Italy are currently on a 33-match unbeaten streak and have shown both their flair and grit in Euro 2020 by sprinting to victories and fighting to them as well. Here is Italy’s road to the final:
SEMI-FINAL: Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties
Italy came in to the semi-final as slight favourites against Spain based on the form in the tournament. However, Spain dominated the possession and did not allow Italy’s midfield to have any control over the proceedings. Against the run of play, Italy scored first off a counter-attack with Federico Chiesa scored a fantastic goal in the 60th minute. However after incessant attacking, Spain equalised through Alvaro Morata. The scoreline remained 1-1 after 120 minutes of football and the match went to penalty shootout. Both the teams missed their first penalty kicks but Belotti, Bonucci, Bernardeschi and Jorginho converted for Italy while for Spain, Gerard Moreno and Thiago Alcantara converted while Dani Olmo and Alvaro Morata missed.
QUARTER-FINAL: Italy beat Belgium 2-1
Italy put up a solid performance in the quarter-final to get the win over Belgium. Italy had control of the match right from the start and showed their attacking abilities by putting Belgium under pressure. Despite all their talent, Belgium struggled to create clear-cut chances as Italy kept venturing forward. Nicolo Barella gave Italy the lead in the 31st minute with a fantastic strike but their keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had denied Kevin de Bruyne just minutes before that. Lorenzo Insigne then scored an absolute stunner in the 44th minute to increase Italy’s lead. Belgium pulled one back through Romelu Lukaku just before half time and Belgium had a couple of great chances in the second half but Italy held on to get the victory.
ROUND OF 16: Italy beat Austria 2-1
This one was a tough victory for Italy as they failed to score a goal in 90 minutes of football despite dominating Austria for most part. The game went to extra time, where Federico Chiesa’s 95th minute strike and Matteo Pessina’s goal in the 105th minute put Italy in the much-needed lead. Austria’s Sasa Kalajdzic pulled one back in the 114th minute but Italy came out with the victory.
Italy beat Wales: In the final group stage match, Italy came out with a 1-0 win over Wales. Italy completely dominated that match with 70 per cent possession and a pass accuracy of 91 per cent. They took 23 shots and six of them were on target. Off those six, one was converted into the goal by Matteo Pessina in the 39th minute. Wales’ Ethan Ampadu got a red card in the 55th minute and Wales could never assert any sort of control on the game.
Italy beat Switzerland: Italy registered a fantastic 3-0 win over Switzerland in their second group stage game. Switzerland had slightly more possession than Italy but the Italians were a 100 per cent clinical. Italy had 13 shots and three of them were on target and all three were goals. Manuel Locatelli got a brace (26′, 52′) while Ciro Immobile scored their third in the 89th minute.
Italy beat Turkey: Italy began their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-0 win over Turkey. Italy, as expected, were far more superiour than Turkey overall but the latter held to 0-0 at half time. However, the floodgates opened in the second half when Merih Demiral scored an own goal in the 53th minute. Ciro Immobile then scored Italy’s second in the 66th minute and Lorenzo Insigne capped it off with a 79th minute goal.