That was a semi-final to live up to all that Euro 2020 had to offer. Two top teams — Italy and Spain — slogged it out over 120 minutes before Italy triumphed on penalties, with brilliant goals and so many chances going a-begging. It really had everything we hoped it would have to put a stamp on such a thrilling tournament.
It was such a shame to see Luis Enrique’s Spain side go out after arduous matches that went the distance. They really raised their game after two disappointing group-stage matches and banged in 10 goals in two games after a shot-shy start. They had Italy on the ropes as the time wound down in the semi-final, but they just could not get over the line.
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In saying that, Italy showed such heart to grind out another victory and book their place back at Wembley for a shot at the silverware. Denmark and England had better have been taking notes as the drive in the Roberto Mancini team is inspiring.
One of the most amazing things I saw in the heavyweight slugfest was the way the players all wished each other luck ahead of the shoot-out — to a man, they embraced the opposition, and you can tell they meant it. This isn’t war ... it is football at its finest. And we still have two more games to go.