Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini was overjoyed to win the toss ahead of the penalty shootout against Spain in the Euro 2020 semi-final on Wednesday. Chiellini exchanged glances with Spain’s captain Jordi Alba, laughed and joked with the Spaniard, and punched him in the face. Although Alba was not pleased, Chile’s apparent calmness reached his team before shooting as Italy defeated Spain 4–2 on penalties to advance to the championship final.
This happened when the teams finished 1–1 after 90 minutes as Federico Chiesa gave Italy the lead but Alvaro Morata equalized for Spain. However, Morata and Danny Olmo missed their penalty shots as Spain failed to repeat their 2008 Euro performance where they beat Italy on penalties.
Giorgio Chiellini makes his Euros start against Spain, becoming the first player in history to play five matches against the same opponent. Chiellini missed two games in this competition due to a thigh injury, but he returned to action against Belgium in the quarter-finals on Friday.
According to Opta, the rock-solid center-back is the first footballer in European Championship history to play five matches against the same opponent. Chiellini has 110 senior caps under his belt and has eight goals to his name for the Azzurri.
Italy’s victory on Wednesday gave them hope of winning their first Euro title since 1968 and their 33-match unbeaten knock will be tested if they take on England or Denmark in the final on 11 July. It was the sweetest victory for Italy since a 4-0 defeat by Spain in the final of Euro 2012 in Kyiv.
Spain beat Switzerland in another penalty shootout in the quarter-finals but could not repeat that performance here. England will face Denmark in the second semi-final of Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.
England has had a dream run in the tournament so far and has played one match at home. England’s 2–0 win over Germany in the 16th round was an important part of their campaign.