This time a Spain without qualms came up with a cross. He did not lack almost nothing against a very Italianized Italy, far from the expansive version that he had shown in the tournament. Luis Enrique’s team was in charge of arranging football, Mancini’s team of managing the victory. This required a penalty shootout that Spain did not deserve to reach. The dice were rolled and the damn naughty football winks were rolled. Dani Olmo, by far the best of the match, and Morata, author of the tie, failed. La Roja did not benefit from its governance and fell on the shore. But there are falls and falls. That of this group in progression does not suppose any blemish. The team is growing and the Pedri, Unai, Olmo and company can now proclaim without hesitation: Present! There will be traits to improve, most of them derived from the beginnings, but there is a basket and a consortium of players who have hit it off wonderfully.
Against Italy, which arrived at the event with 32 games without losing and 13 successes in a row, young Spain never wavered, which was never surpassed. Not because of the significance of the cartel, for many the highest star of their primary careers. He spun the ball and screwed his jaw without it. A nuisance for Italy in all sectors of the game, without sustenance with the ball at the opponent’s feet and without a periscope to break the crushed Spanish defense, a very advanced defense and with Unai Simón in the open field.
Mancini’s team, more uncomfortable than ever in the tournament, could not find Verratti, Barella was not fine and it took him a while to catch some Insigne court. The ball was a torment for Mancini’s men, who barely splashed with it. Nothing of that Italy so painterly all the Eurocopa. The Spanish crowd at the time of pressing left her flat. Somehow the Azzurra agreed with herself: the ball will not be ours, it is a night to uncover just waiting for a spark. It was always the role of resistant.
The crowded Spain pressed and pressed, while Dani Olmo floated with great success around the perimeter of Bonucci and Chiellini, two centurions. Luis Enrique wanted to remove a reference from them, someone more static like Morata. The same assembly as in the final of 2012, when Del Bosque pulled Cesc as a false ram. Lopetegui repeated five years later, with Asensio as a decoy as nine. On both occasions Spain thrashed. It was already the time of the imperishable Bonucci and Chiellini.
Great to turn and face, Dani Olmo pulled the chain on more than one occasion to the opponent’s rear. A match, that of Olmo, to frame. Agile, cheeky and spicy. From Olmo the Spanish team rhymed to the sound of Pedri, Koke and Busi and Laporte and his comrades from the trench tuned in well. Only a hasty departure from Unai put Spain on high alert. With the goalkeeper having a picnic and the house out in the open, Barella tied the ball into a knot. It was the moment the Azzurra was looking for. A fatal blink from the opponent to penalize him. It’s in the Calcium Genes, a symposium on how not to lose in 90 minutes and win in a second.
Dani Olmo, of course, put Donnarumma to the test with a dry shot after a rebound. Luis Enrique’s team, with judgment and bone, lacked one more march in the last meters. More adventurous than Olmo. It happens that it is in that final stretch where the great intricacy of football is. It is in the terminal phase when more finesse is required. And more when it comes to Italy, Chiellini’s and a lifetime.
A wrinkle-free team
Back from intermission, Italy had a more fluent entry. He knew how to better track the spaces in attack and for a while he seemed not to have so much disaffection for the ball. Spain was not altered, which continued on its route, although it had to redouble its vigilance. Busquets missed a shot by a little finger shortly before the Italian goal. The worst play managed by the Spanish group. A pass with Donnarumma’s hand, three touches and Chiesa’s bingo, which beautifully screwed the ball into the net. Pure Italy, which historically penalizes without prior notice. One of your favorite currencies. In advantage, back to the enchironamiento.
Photogallery: Italy – Spain, the match of the Eurocup semifinals, in pictures
Luis Enrique gave way to Morata, who quickly tuned into the game. Spain continued to his own, of gathering with the ball and without shrinking before any scrubbing. But time was shrinking. And against Italy it is usually even more diminishing. It was not for Dani Olmo, the flag player of the night. More intrepid than ever, the Catalan was the Spanish cornetist. Without a single wrinkle in front of the Italian bailiffs, Olmo struck and struck, with as much determination as sharpness. A gunshot slipped through a finger. But then he knew how to circumvent the minefield with a concise and sharp wall with Morata. The Madrilenian assaulted the area as if it were a convoy in itself and squared the ball in Donnarumma’s nets after a control oriented with the right and culminated with a strike with the left foot. A colossal release for Morata, the culmination of an indelible shock for Dani Olmo. And the Spanish ticket for another extension that the team, with sufficient value, did not deserve. Yes Italy. Without dissimulation, he wanted it to be his destination, sheltered by Bonucci and Chiellini. The one who really rebelled against any fatal outcome was Olmo, who set the bar very high for the giant Donnarumma with a lateral foul thrown with a very bad grape. Without remedy. The penalties arrived and … Maximum punishment for a Spain with a journey.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.