Italy got the better of Spain in penalties in a high-voltage Euro 2020 semi-final at the Wembley Stadium.
Federico Chiesa opened the scoring for Mancini’s side against the run of play and despite several chances in the first half, Spain had nothing to show for it because of the lack of proper finishing.
However, Alvaro Morata came off the bench to restore parity in the match and force it to extra-time!
It was Morata who ended up missing his penalty along with Dani Olmo that allowed the Italians to book a slot in the final of the European Championship.
Head coach Roberto Mancini is of the opinion that his side has proved the doubters wrong by reaching the final. “Almost no one believed we could do it, and yet we are into the final,” Mancini said after the semi-final win over Spain.
“There are games where you have to suffer,” the Italy head coach added. “They can’t all be as smooth as our progress so far. We knew it would be a tough game. That is why the players and everyone who worked with us over last three years deserve great credit, because it wasn’t easy.”
This will be Italy’s first final appearance in the European Championship since 2012 when they were routed 4-0 by Spain. The Azzurri are still searching for their second European title since 1968. “We are delighted to have provided this wonderful evening’s entertainment to the Italian people.
We still have one game to go,” Mancini said.
The former Manchester City coach was also highly respectful of Spain and the effort put in by Luis Enrique’s side. He wanted to take his hat off to La Roja for the brilliant tournament that they’ve had.
“In terms of ball possession Spain are the best around,” the 56-year-old added. “They caused us problems, we had to dig in when we needed to, and create opportunities where we could. We wanted to reach the final and kept trying until the end.
Penalties are a lottery, but I want to take my hat off to Spain, they are a wonderful team.”
Italy are currently on a 33-game unbeaten streak under Robert Mancini which is already a national record. They’d be desperate to make it 34 in a row with a win over England in the final.