R.evanche succeeded, record series ended: The Spanish national soccer team won the battle of the European top nations and reached the final of the Nations League. The former European champions won 2-1 (2-0) against reigning titleholders Italy in Milan on Wednesday evening, stopping the world record series of 37 games without defeat for the Azzurri. Almost three months after losing in the semi-finals of the European Championship on penalties, the Spaniards earned their success with a strong and offensive appearance.
Double goalscorer Ferran Torres (17./45.+2) scored in front of around 37,000 spectators in San Siro, which was sold out under Corona conditions, for the guests. The subsequent goal by Lorenzo Pellegrini (83rd) came too late for the Italians, who had been outnumbered for a long time. Their captain Leonardo Bonucci saw the yellow-red card in the 42nd minute. In the final on Sunday, Spain will meet Belgium or France, who will face each other in the second semi-final on Thursday in Turin.
Both teams got off to a lively start and provided the fans with good entertainment. After a little more than a quarter of an hour, the guests were rewarded. On the sidelines, national coach Luis Enrique cheered enthusiastically, after all, he had been heavily criticized for his nomination. No Real Madrid player in the squad, but 17-year-old Gavi from FC Barcelona even in the starting line-up. The attacking midfielder became the youngest Spanish international and replaced Ángel Zubieta’s brand from 1936.
But Enrique was allowed to feel confirmed early on. After the Italians had their first chance through Federico Chiesa (5th), the Spaniards got stronger and stronger. Mikel Oyarzabal’s shot was blocked (13th) before a fine combination made it 1-0 for the guests.
Oyarzabal crossed from the left to the inside, where Ferran Torres hit a direct tap. Just two minutes later, Italy’s national goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was very lucky after a bad mistake that it was not early 2-0. The former Milan goalkeeper was whistled by fans for his move to Paris Saint-Germain on his return. When Marcos Alonso’s durable shot, which he let slip through his hands to the post and which Bonucci artistically cleared shortly before the line, he actually looked unsettled (19th). Shortly before the break, Bonucci, who had already been cautioned with yellow, was in focus again – because he saw yellow-red after an elbow against Sergio Busquets (42nd).
Both teams had already gone into the game with staff concerns: The Italians were missing several attackers, above all the center strikers Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti who were successful in the European Championship coup in Wembley. The drop-out list for the Iberians was even longer, where in addition to Leipzig professional Dani Olmo or captain Sergio Ramos, other forces such as Álvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno, José Luis Gayá, Carlos Soler, Jordi Alba, Sergio Canales and Marcos Llorente were missing.
The Spaniards got along better with it. Outnumbered, they did not allow much in the second half and continued to play confidently and solidly for a long time. Seven minutes before the end they were caught off guard in a counterattack, but saved the narrow lead over time.