The Warmdown: Italy reach the final
Italy midfielder Jorginho scored the winning penalty in the shootout | Photo by Carl Recine - Pool via Getty Images

Italy progressed to the final of Euro 2020 on Tuesday with a penalty shootout victory over Spain at Wembley.

With the score at 1-1 after extra time, Jorginho scored the winning penalty to send the Italians into ecstasy after goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma had saved from Alvaro Morata.

Morata had cancelled out Federico Chiesa’s opener in normal time when Spain controlled the majority of proceedings, but Italy progressed in the shootout and will now face England or Denmark in the final on Sunday.

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Here’s our warmdown of the game, with a bit of reflection on how things played out.

False 9

To the surprise of many, Spain manager Luis Enrique opted to change his striker for the match, dropping Alvaro Morata, of whom the Spain manager had previously claimed was the first name on the team sheet.

Instead he played Real Socieded’s Mikel Oyarzabal on the right with Dani Olmo playing up front, who dropped deep to frustrate the Italian midfield.

It worked for large periods of the game, helping Spain to retain position dominate play, but they were lacklustre in the penalty box, with Oyarzabal missing two golden chances.

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Morata finally came on and was the man to score the equalising goal. The plan worked well for Enrique and Spain, and would have been perfect if any of his original forward line had their shooting boots on.

Pedri impresses again

There was a lot of hype surrounding Pedri before the tournament started and he lived up to expectations.

The 18-year-old started every game of Spain’s tournament in central midfield and brought a breath of fresh air to the team with his energy and general play.

Against Italy was his best game yet. He did a fantastic job taking midfield anchor Jorginho out the game and showed fantastic flair and attacking drive when the situation allowed.

The Barcelona man completed 55 passes from 55 attempted in the first 90 minutes and 65 from 67 in the 120 - a staggering record - and really didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

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Manager Enrique said after the game: “Did you see what a kid of 18 called Pedri did? Not even Andres Iniesta has done what he's done. I have not seen what Pedri has done at Euro 2020 from any 18-year-old in a Euros, a World Cup, an Olympics... I have never seen anything like it. It defies logic.”

Big praise and deservedly so.

Pain for Morata

Many were surprised to see Morata dropped from the starting lineup, but that was more because of Enrique’s words than the forward’s form.

He looked clumsy up top at times after his introduction just after the hour mark, but took his goal well to earn Spain a well-deserved equaliser.

When he stepped up to take his side’s fourth penalty in the shootout, however, things seemed different.

The Juventus man looked a nervous wreck and tamely flicked a shot low to Gianluigi Donnarumma’s left that the Italy ‘keeper gratefully palmed away. Morata didn’t look shocked and the watching fans didn't either.

Having missed a penalty against Slovakia in the group stages and being low on confidence already, many were surprised Morata took a penalty he never looked like scoring.

It is however important to note that Dani Olmo’s spot kick was much, much worse.

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Italy on the verge of history

Italy were arguably second best on the day but the got over the line and will contest the final against either England or Denmark.

Roberto Mancini has taken his side to the verge of history - their unbeaten run now stands at 33 games, just two away from matching the all-time record of 35, held by Brazil and Spain.

Mancini has turned Italy into a counter-attacking machine, back from the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup to a team on the verge of being crowned kings of Europe.

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Whatever happens in the final, the Italians can once again be proud of their men’s national team and what they have achieved.

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