The first semi-final at the 2020 Euros was a replay of the 2012 Euro final. Spain had won that game convincingly but started yesterday’s game as outsiders. Italy were one of the standout sides in the tournament so far and were expected to face the winner of the England vs Denmark match in the final on Sunday.
The Italians lined up as expected with Emerson filling in for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola at left back. The major talking point regarding the Spanish line-up was that Alvaro Morata wasn’t a part of it. In fact, Luis Enrique did not choose an out and out striker in the starting 11 with the trio of Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo and Mikel Oyarzabal occupying the attacking areas.
The midfield battle was going to decide this match as both sides had highly talented and industrious individuals in the centre of the park. The first half was slightly dominated by Spain as they had more shots on goal and looked fairly comfortable on the ball. Barcelona youngster Pedri completed all 31 of his passes in the first half and was one of the best players in the first 45. Italy had a great chance towards the end of the first half but they couldn’t get the break through.
The second half saw the game open up a bit. Federico Chiesa maintained his big game reputation by scoring the opening goal in the 60th minute. Spain had even more control of the match in the second half with Koke, Busquets and Pedri ruling the midfield battle. Alvaro Morata was brought on as a second half substitute and he scored the equaliser by scoring off a Dani Olmo assist. The biggest miss of the second half was by Oyarzabal who failed to get any contact on his header.
The match had to go to extra time which was also dominated by Spain, who had more than 70% possession by the end of 120 minutes. Spain, who had qualified to the semi-finals by winning a penalty shoot-out were not able to repeat their feat as Olmo and Morata failed to score from 12 yards out in the shootout.