Italy 2 Belgium 1
Switzerland 1 (1) Spain 1 (3)
London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | The dream continues. Roberto Mancini’s Italy are into the semi-finals after eliminating the top-ranked team in world football.
Mancini has again demonstrated that his team can handle any opponent, and the Azzurri go on to take on Spain full of confidence.
Italy now face Spain in a repeat of the 2012 final. They will be hoping for a different outcome this time around.
Earlier, Spain equalled their highest ever EURO goals tally to bring Switzerland’s remarkable EURO 2020 run to a close, winning on penalties to book their first spot in a major tournament semi-finals since 2012.
A coordinated and compact Switzerland sat deep from the start, allowing Spain to keep possession. However, it took just eight minutes for La Roja to break the Swiss resolve. Koke’s outswinging corner fell kindly for Jordi Alba, whose rifled effort was diverted by Denis Zakaria’s outstretched leg past Yann Sommer.
A goal down, the Nati began to turn up the pressure and, in a positive spell towards the end of the first half, Silvan Widmer battled to win a corner from Haris Seferović’s redirected effort. The Swiss certainly posed a threat from set pieces, but this time Manuel Akanji glanced off target.
Vladimir Petković’s side pressed high in the second half, looking to establish a foothold and it paid off. As Pau Torres and Aymeric Laporte struggled with a seemingly straightforward clearance, Remo Freuler pounced to feed Xherdan Shaqiri, who duly steered home to restore parity on 68 minutes.
Switzerland were back in the game, but in the 77th minute Freuler saw red for a dangerous challenge and the Nati were reduced to ten men.
Spain cranked up their intensity as the game moved into extra time. However, Gerard Moreno spurned several decent opportunities, before Sommer was alert to deny the Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo efforts that followed.
Luis Enrique’s men continued to turn the screw, but the Nati clung on, throwing their bodies on the line, scrambling to disrupt Spain, and forced the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Victorious from the spot against France, this time Switzerland were outdone, despite Sergio Busquets firing against the post first up. Unai Simón saved from Fabian Schär and Manuel Akanji, and Ruben Vargas blasted over, allowing Oyarzabal to send Spain into the semi-finals.
SOURCE: UEFA2020 MEDIA