LONDON (Reuters) – The following is Italy’s road to the European Championship final where they will face England at Wembley on Sunday. EURO QUALIFYING Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup caused heads to roll but the team looked rejuvenated under new boss Roberto Mancini. The Azzurri qualified with a perfect record in […]
Factbox: Soccer-Italy’s road to the Euro 2020 final
LONDON (Reuters) – The following is Italy’s road to the European Championship final where they will face England at Wembley on Sunday.
Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup caused heads to roll but the team looked rejuvenated under new boss Roberto Mancini.
The Azzurri qualified with a perfect record in Group J, winning all 10 matches, scoring 37 goals and conceding only four. They finished the campaign with a 9-1 demolition of Armenia with seven different goal scorers.
TURKEY 0-3 ITALY
Turkey were seen as dark horses at the tournament but after a goalless first half, the floodgates opened when an own goal gave Italy the impetus to pile on the pressure.
Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne also got on the scoresheet while at the back Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were rarely troubled by Turkey’s top scorer Burak Yilmaz.
ITALY 3-0 SWITZERLAND
Italy’s strength was in their goals coming from multiple sources but little did Switzerland expect them to come from midfielder Manuel Locatelli who struck twice to add to his previous international tally of one goal.
Immobile scored again late on to give Italy back-to-back 3-0 wins as the Azzurri became the first team to qualify for the knockout stages.
ITALY 1-0 WALES
Mancini made eight changes but still managed to get all three points when midfielder Matteo Pessina scored from a set-piece in the first half in Rome. Italy also kept a clean sheet for an 11th consecutive match.
ITALY 2-1 AUSTRIA (AFTER EXTRA TIME)
Underdogs Austria were in the knockout stage for the first time at the Euros and they gave Italy a scare by with an effort that was ruled out by VAR before they forced extra time as the match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
However, it gave Mancini the opportunity to test Plan B, which worked to perfection as substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina struck to book Italy’s place in the quarter-finals.
BELGIUM 1-2 ITALY
Belgium’s “Golden Generation” presented Italy with a headache but a tense match against the top-ranked side in the world was settled with first-half goals from Nicolo Barella and a sublime curling effort from Lorenzo Insigne.
Romelu Lukaku’s penalty halved the lead but Italy held on in the second half. The Azzurri’s night was soured, however, when influential left back Leonardo Spinazzola was taken off on a stretcher with a torn Achilles tendon that ended his tournament.
ITALY 1-1 SPAIN (ITALY WON 4-2 ON PENALTIES)
A resurgent Spain represented Italy’s toughest test at the Euros as Luis Enrique’s side dominated the midfield battle in a compelling 1-1 draw in which Spain substitute Alvaro Morata cancelled out Federico Chiesa’s superb curling shot.
With nothing to separate the sides after 120 minutes, Italy held their nerve in the penalty shootout. Jorginho converted the winning spot-kick with a cool finish as the Azzurri extended their unbeaten run to 33 matches.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)