UEFA Euro 2020

Italy's road to the final of Euro 2020

Ross Jackson
Insigne scored the winner in the quarter-finals
Insigne scored the winner in the quarter-finals / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
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Naturally every England fan in the world is getting carried away at thought of the Three Lions winning Euro 2020, so let's just take a step back a second and realise the challenge that still lies ahead.

Fellow finalists Italy are currently on a 33-game unbeaten run and to make England's task even harder they're also going to come up against the best-dressed, coolest manager ever in Roberto Mancini - that doesn't really make the task any harder, but we just wanted to mention it.

Gli Azzurri looked brilliant in the group stages and they've shown their tournament nous in doing enough in each of their knockout games to make it over the line.

In case you need a reminder that this Sunday's final is far from a foregone conclusion, here's how Italy made it to Euro 2020's showpiece event.


1. Turkey 0-3 Italy (Group A)

The opening night of Euro 2020 will forever be remembered for Andrea Bocelli and the first appearance of the little car, so it's easy to forget just how impressive Italy were on the night.

Mancini's men started brightly against Turkey but the first half saw them unable to break down a side many had tipped as dark horses.

The breakthrough eventually came early in the second half as Merih Demiral put one through his own net, and from there the result looked inevitable.

Ciro Immobile doubled his side's lead before Lorenzo Insigne rounded off a lovely team move to hand Italy the three points to kickstart their campaign.


2. Italy 3-0 Switzerland (Group A)

After their impressive first showing against Turkey, the Italians produced another dominant display on matchday two as they swept aside Switzerland - a result which looks even more impressive given Vladimir Petkovic's side's later triumph over world champions France.

Manuel Locatelli was the star for Italy as he bagged two lovely goals to put his side into a commanding position, before Yann Sommer let Immobile's late effort slip through his hands to give Mancini's men their second consecutive 3-0 victory.


3. Italy 1-0 Wales (Group A)

With top spot in Group A already secured, Italy were afforded the opportunity to rest a couple of their star men for their final group outing against Wales.

Their performance wasn't as polished as we'd become used to seeing at Euro 2020, though they still had enough to drag themselves over the line to notch a 1-0 win and retain their 100% record.

Matteo Pessina's strike just five minutes before half time was the difference between the two teams as Mancini's men celebrated nine points from a possible nine - one of only three sides in the competition to win all of their group games.


4. Italy 2-1 Austria (round of 16)

Gli Azzurri's round of 16 tie against Austria saw them given their first real test of the competition.

Having failed to break Austria down in 90 minutes, Italy headed for extra time knowing if they couldn't find a goal they'd be forced to face the lottery of penalties.

Federico Chiesa has proved to be Italy's saviour at times this tournament, and he popped up with his first huge goal of Euro 2020 to hand his side the lead.

Pessina's second in two games looked to have settled the game as a contest, but Austria weren't done yet as Sasa Kalajdzic struck a late reply. The goal proved little more than a consolation as Italy hung on to advance to the quarter-final stage.


5. Belgium 1-2 Italy (quarter-final)

If Austria was Italy's first big test then Belgium represented an even bigger one.

The number-one ranked side in the world were one of the favourites to taste success heading into Euro 2020, but again the Italians somehow managed to find a way to make it through to the next round.

Nicolo Barella's fantastic footwork and bullet finish edged them into a 1-0 lead before Insigne somehow pulled out an even better finish to double their advantage.

Romelu Lukaku's penalty on the stroke of half time swung the game back into the balance, but Mancini's men did what they do best and dug in to see out a 2-1 win.


6. Italy 1-1 Spain (AET, Italy won 4-2 on penalties, semi-final)

So far Italy had played reasonably well in pretty much every game of Euro 2020, yet to reach the final of a major tournament you're always going to have at least one game where you somehow scrape through.

Spain dominated both possession of the ball and shots on goal in their semi-final clash, with Alvaro Morata's late equaliser to cancel out Chiesa's earlier strike the least the Spaniards deserves.

With the game locked at 1-1 after extra time penalties would be needed to separate the two sides.

The first spot kick of the shootout saw Locatelli's effort saved by Unai Simon, but the Sassuolo man was handed a reprieve as Dani Olmo blazed Spain's first penalty over the bar. The next five penalties were all expertly dispatched before Morata's tame effort was palmed away by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho stepped up next and he looked the coolest person in the stadium as he calmly stroked his effort into the back of the net to book Italy's place at Sunday's final.

33 games without defeat, but can England stop the run and clinch Euro 2020 glory?


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