Italy beat Spain on penalties to reach the Euro 2020 final to face Denmark or England after an enthralling semi-final at a noisy Wembley.
Federico Chiesa looked set to send Italy, undefeated in 33 games to the final in normal time, with a well-rounded goal to end the fast-paced counter.
But Morata came off the bench to equalize 10 minutes after a one-two with Dani Olmo.
However, a penalty kick by Juventus striker in the shootout proved to be more costly as Spain lost the semi-final for the first time in their history.
Fear of an empty stadium or a quiet crowd seemed unfounded even though tickets were still on sale during the day. And fans could not fly from either country without having to quarantine for long periods of time to watch the game.
Roberto Mancini‘s side has been the best team in the competition and has won their last 13 games and deserves their place in the final.
However, this was the hardest thing they had to do to work. And they were only able to shot once between Morata’s equalizer and the shootout.
It is a very sad ending for Morata’s Euro. In addition, he spent a lot of time during the tournament. And his family had to face threats from fans, and his equalizer looks set to change the story before he failed from the spot.
Mancini’s machine continues.
The Italian style of play changed as the tournament progressed. Finally, the Azzurri returned to their old defensive ways and advanced to the finals.
They scored free and impressive in the group stage while also strong back taking their race and winning 11 in a row without conceding.
But they need extra time to beat Austria in the last 16 and then dig into beating Belgium 2-1 last time.
Moreover, Mancini has taken on a team that had failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. And he has now led them to the next big final.
Surprisingly, the four-time world champions still won only one European Championship title back in 1968.
They lost in the 2000 and 2012 finals but will hopefully play better at Wembley.
Emerson was a talented but inexplicable Leonardo Spinazzola injured left-back. And he hit the bar in the solid part with their only effort of the first half.
Their appearance stemmed from a malicious attack that started with goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. And they ended up with Chiesa’s perfect finish in the game from the edge of the box, leaving Unai Simon focused on the spot.
They had few chances to wrap up the game. But Domenico Berardi fired straight at Simon both times before Morata equalized. From that point on, it looked like they were playing for penalties, and so it was.
The Azzurri got off to a great start when Manuel Locatelli’s penalty was saved. Still, they changed all their kicks to Jorginho, waiting for Spanish goalkeeper Simon to pass before setting up another option to send them to the final.
The wastefulness of Spain catches up with them.
Spain grew up in the tournament and went home as the leading scorers so far with 13 goals. And then it had to be so much more.
Ten of those goals came in two games, and otherwise, they struggled hard in front of the goal. As a result, Slovakia is the only team to beat them in 90 minutes at Euro 2020.
They started without a well-known striker on Tuesday. Morata left on the bench with Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo healthy but spoiling in front of goal.
Luis Enrique’s side finished with 16 shots to Italy’s seven. But won just one more effort on target than their opponents at Wembley.
Spain had won all five of their semi-finals at major tournaments. Including their success in 2008, 2010, and 2012 when they dominated world football. But now, the 100% run has come to an end.
They played good football and deserved to be measured when Morata ran into Olmo’s back home. But in the shootout, Olmo fired wildly before Morata’s kick was saved.
However, summer is not over for six of them, with Olmo, Simon, Oyarzabal, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, and Pedri, all of whom played on Tuesday on the Spanish football team.