Nerve-Shredding Shootout Between Italy And Spain Won By The Impossibly Cool Jorginho

Italy was a hop, skip and jump away from the final, so Jorginho did just that.

Álvaro Morata’s Euro 2020 campaign then: Spain draws 0-0 with Sweden. Villain. Morata scores early against Poland. Hero. Morata misses a sitter against Poland and Spain draws again. Villain. Morata scores the extra-time winner against Croatia. Hero. Morata only lasts 54 minutes against Switzerland and is benched against Italy. Villain. Morata comes off the bench and scores the equalizer against Italy. Hero. Morata misses the decisive penalty kick in the shootout. Villain. 

At the end of the day he’s now Spain’s all-time leading scorer at the European Championships, but it’s cruel to think about how much that final turn of the script will haunt him over the coming years.

The sense of destiny behind Italy’s renaissance matched the grandeur of a Raphael painting when Federico Chiesa capped off a thrilling Azzurri counter on the hour mark, but it was clear that Roberto Mancini’s side was ready to lean on Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and the rest of the rearguard from there.   

It would’ve been a harsh result for Spain on the evidence of regular time. La Furia Roja dominated possession, threatened Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net with frequency and had a few standout performers — the 18-year-old Pedri was liquid football in midfield.

So it was entirely deserved when Morata, up off the bench minutes after Italy’s opener, equalized in the 80th with a lovely goal. The Juventus striker dropped deep to receive the ball between Italy’s press, turned, drove at defenders and exchanged a quick one-two with Dani Olmo.

From there, Morata achieved his own bit of Raphael-esque artistry with the easy composition of his finish.  

Extra time couldn’t produce a winner, and that ultimately set the stage for the decisive miss of the shootout from Morata…

And Jorginho’s winner…

Italy advances to the final on Sunday, July 11, where they’ll play the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between England and Denmark. 

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