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European Championship || Semi-Finals Italy - Spain || Stupid That Someone Had To Lose

The best thing that could be seen at this European Championship: Italy wins against Spain in a splendid semi-final. Someone who has already suffered a lot became a tragic hero.

Italy 5-3 Spain on penalties

How was the game?

In one word: impressive. In a few more words: what Italy and Spainbecause long stretches were put on the pitch, the best was what there was to see at this European Championship. Technology, tactics, speed, ball safety. Both teams played so well in their own way that there were moments when it was hard to believe it was the same sport as, say, Sweden against Slovakia or England against Germany. Spain passed the ball as easily as if they were playing handball. Alone the two passes in the 13th minute, in which Spain's Lulatsch and pacemaker Sergio Busquets pushed through to 18-year-old Iniesta heir Pedri, who in turn pushed through to Mikel Oyarzabal, were as if painted. Another part of Spain is the fact that Oyarzabal then tripped the ball free in front of goal. You know it: The D in Spain stands for impact.

What was Italy doing?

Knowing about the Spanish weakness, the Italians largely let their opponents have their way. Also because they suspected that at some point they would have their own counter-chances. One came pretty quickly when Spain goalkeeper Unai Simón let himself be carried away on one of his trips to the London neighborhood. But Nicolò Barella hesitated a little too long. So the game went on, at the highest level, but also defensively at the highest level. The Italian central defense had more to clean up than usual, a task that they did properly, even though they are already 70 years old in total (and Chiellini and Bonucci are only two). However, the two could also trust that the strong Leipzig Spaniard Dani Olmo regularly did not hit the ball correctly. Red Bull might give you wings.

How did the gates fall?

In keeping with the game, they were wonderful. Just seconds after Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma intercepted a cross, Lorenzo Insigne played a delicious outside-inside pass into Ciro Immobile's barrel. A Spaniard straddled in between, but the ball landed at Federico Chiesa, who pulled into the penalty area, made a hook inside and curled the ball into the far corner. 1-0, in Italy almost a synonym for: won the game. But the opponent is not called Spain every day. Luis Enrique remembered having a striker on the bench who knew how to score goals: Álvaro Morata. 19 minutes after being substituted on, Morata played a clever one-two with Daniel Olmo and scored to make it 1-1.


And then?

The fans in the stadium and in front of the television have rarely been less sad about an extension. If it had been up to them, the teams could have played through the night. In general, it was clear early on: It was stupid that after this game there would be not only a winner but also a loser. That would be a new, nice rule. The best semi-final loser also makes it to the final. Just think about it, Uefa!

Who became the tragic hero?

In any case, after the equalization, the game calmed down. Italy, a little more tired than Spain, seemed to be betting on penalties. Spain couldn't think of anything, and didn't feel like taking the big risk any more. Only the very late substitute Thiago brought colleagues and coaches against him again with a failed free kick and two steep passes just before the end of extra time. So penalty shoot-out. The first two shooters failed, Locatelli and Olmo, then all of them scored - except for Álvaro Morata of all people.

Really Álvaro Morata?

Yes. His goal to make it 1-1 meant a new record, it was his sixth European Championship goal, overtaking Fernando Torres in the all-time Spanish leaderboard. Nevertheless, Morata will not look back on this tournament later. During the preliminary round, he was insulted and threatened because he didn't score often enough. "Some people have said they want my children dead. I had to put my phone down," he said. And now that.

And Italy?

Rejoiced. The strong Jorginho, who already won the Champions League with Chelsea, rolled the decisive penalty into the goal. After that everyone tumbled at Wembley. They greeted Leonardo Spinazzola, who had torn his Achilles tendon in the previous game. Even the otherwise rather controlled Roberto Mancini was right in the middle of it all. And did we see a crease in the shirt of the best-dressed coach of this European Championship while we were cheering?

Somebody actually took the trouble to ascribe something like glamor and wit to football. Nice try, albeit well done. But I fear that, in addition to the slippage of those interested in capital, it is mainly the seemingly blunted attempt to propagate something like a people's (unifying) sporting event in order to distract from actual world events and to fool a sense of identity, which UEFA is standing in its own way . Without the rainbow cause, this EM would have sunk into insignificance and at most would have affected the Milleus, which in itself does not see much perspective.

But. Great game. Italy is hardly recognizable. No more catenaccio. But at this European Championship it is different for the first time ... If Spain is too stupid to score, so what. It is not difficult for me for the first time: forza italia!

I feel the same way about sympathy for Italy, earlier just before the Netherlands level, but now my heart is opening somehow. And it's also a better bank against England if Denmark doesn't make it. Because of the unsportsmanlike booing, the latter did not deserve a title and certainly not at home because of the delta-spreading.

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