Spain took revenge on its host, Italy, the European champion, and reached the final of the second edition of the European Football Championship, when it beat it 2-1 at the San Siro stadium in Milan in front of 37,000 spectators in the semi-finals.
Manchester City striker Ferran Torres (17 and 45) scored Spain’s goals, while substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini (83) scored the honorable goal for the hosts, who completed the match with ten players since the 42nd minute, after their captain Leonardo Bonucci was sent off.
“We knew that the match would be special, we are facing European champions Italy at home, everything was great, winning is the fruit of training, and when you do it perfectly, the results are always achieved,” Torres said.
Spain and coach Luis Enrique considered their loss to Italy in the last European Cup semi-final, when coach Roberto Mancini’s men outperformed on penalties after the end of the original and extra time with a 1-1 draw.
Spain stopped Italy’s record series in maintaining its unbeaten record at 37 games, and inflicted its first loss at San Siro since 1927, achieving its first victory over Italy at home in an official match.
Spain decided the result of the match in the first half when it scored two goals thanks to its control and great possession of the ball, which amounted to 63%, as well as the numerical shortage after Bonucci was sent off because she scored the second five minutes after his exit.
Spain continued its advantage in the second half, and could have strengthened on more than one occasion and almost paid dearly for it, because the Italians reduced the difference in the last seven minutes and rushed in search of an equaliser.
Mancini was forced to take out striker Bernardeschi to push the other pole of defense, and captain Giorgio Chiellini at the beginning of the second half, and he also made four other changes, without succeeding in turning the table on his guests.
Chiellini commented on the loss, saying: “We are sad for this loss, sad, because we lost on this stadium, we made some mistakes, which Spain took advantage of to score, we were not enjoying mental clarity, and the numerical shortage affected us a lot, I am sure that we will learn from this loss.” .
He added, “No team is invincible. When you face strong and big teams, you must focus, and I think we paid the price for not focusing.”
For his part, Mancini said: “Sometimes things go like this, the results of matches are determined based on their facts, we could have come out tied in the first half, they are playing very well from a technical point of view, unfortunately we were not able to complete the match with 11 players, We made a mistake that can’t be done at this level, I didn’t see the shot, but that doesn’t change anything, you have to be careful when you have a yellow card, in the second half we managed to at least score without conceding a goal, congratulations despite everything for the players.”
Italy played the match in the absence of their attacking hearts Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti due to injury, so coach Mancini, Juventus striker, Bernardeschi, preferred to keep veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini on the bench, preferring Alessandro Bastoni.
The Spanish national team played the match in the absence of more than one key player, most notably Alvaro Morata, Dani Olmo, Pedri, Gerard Moreno and Jordi Alba.
And his coach, Luis Enrique, paid Barcelona’s promising midfielder Jaffe, 17, who became the youngest player in history to carry the colors of Spain, breaking a record at the age of 85 years.
Jaffe, 17 years and 60 days, broke the record of Angel Thobeta Redondo, who carried the Spanish national team shirt for the first time at the age of 17 years and 284 days in an international friendly match against Czechoslovakia “1-0” in 1936.
Jaffe’s participation is a huge leap for him, especially since he only played 363 minutes with the Blaugrana.