Spain vs Italy: Italy in the Euro20 finale, on Tuesday, 4-2, against Spain in penalty kicks. The match concluded 1-1, with no team scoring during the period added. With Unai Simon saving Manuel Locatelli, the first penalty kick for the two teams was missed by Dani Olmo, and his ball was sent to the fans. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a great stop on Alvaro Morata for the fourth kick in Spain after exchanging several well-taken kicks. Jorginho scored in Italy’s fifth try to send Italians in the final.
In the early phases of the encounter, no team was outstanding, but Spain saw more and produced the best opportunity. Their best chance came in the first half when Olmo’s pass went down, but a great Donnarumma denied the RB Leipzig player.
The second half was considerably more back and forth, as every team would take their best steps forward. Let’s take a look at how Luis Enrique and Roberto Mancini battled it out.
A mouth-watering semi-final took center stage at the Euros as Italy prepared to face Spain. Italy has been the outstanding team so far, while Spain has had good performances that have not been fully reflected in the scorelines. In the end, this game finished one or after extra-time thanks to goals by Chiesa and Morata, with Italy going through after penalties. A brief refresher of the formations used by Enrique and Manchini in the semi-final battle, as the first half stats came in Spain had 70% ball possession.
In the first half, Italy looked to press high up with insignia coming in off the left, and Immobile covering Laporte down the right whilst the midfield won a man-to-man insignia would seek to position himself such that he could press the center back or drop back into Azpilicueta when necessary.
Spain could still go wide straight, but they had tremendous success when they first entered the middle, as insignia would be pulled onto Garcia. The pivot would then play out to Azpilicueta, even though Emerson was fast to press even from goal kicks. Spain can play through the center first because Busquets is willing to take risks in deeper regions trying to play line-breaking passes despite being under pressure, and using Olma as a false nine was a stroke of genius. After all, even in these deep phases, he could drop into the midfield to create a 4 VS 3 in this region so that he could receive in space and then break higher up the pitch and in open play.
Ferran and Oyarzabal initially hugged the touchlines, meaning that Azpilicueta and Jordi alba played much deeper than usual and Spain were happy to attack wide or through the center on either side when the winger came deeper to pick up the ball Italy’s fallbacks were aggressive in pressing, leaving space in behind them for the Spain midfielder, whether Pedri or Koke to attack and bring the center back out of position.
However, the midfield was once again the most significant region, driven by Dani Olmo’s movement. Initially, Italy was looking to press the midfield. Koke frequently came deep to be a second pivot alongside Busquets, so Barrela and Verratti were drawn higher up the pitch, leaving Georgio one versus one with Pedri, and Olmo could then drop into the midfield to create a two versus one against Jorginho so that either Pedri or he could receive and turn and then attack. At times we see Oyarzabal coming into the central area to cover any counter-attacks.
Jordi Alba had a resounding start. Italy attempted to use Chiesa to tuck in narrow as the fourth midfielder to allow their center-backs to remain deeper, but Pedro would still be able to get away at times who wouldn’t want to come to central. It also allowed Alba to push higher up on the left-hand side with Ferran moving narrow so that Alba and Torres could look to combine 2 VS 1 against Lorenzo, but when trying to see the defenders lying much deeper than usual.
One of the main reasons Spain stopped Italy from playing was by starving Jorginho, and the variety of the ball which usually run the game and they only had the fifth and sixth most passes of the ball with primarily the defenders getting on the ball because Spain was effective with their man-to-man press in midfield. After all, unlike Spain, Italy’s Ciro immobile stayed higher up the pitch instead of causing an overload in the midfield. But it won’t concern them too much, even if they will need to better their performance in the final. Spain will be distraught, as their terrible finishing once again came back to haunt them. Spain vs Italy Euro 2020
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