Gareth Southgate has spoken to ITV ahead of kick-off to discuss his plans for this evening’s semi-final, the decision to select teenager Bukayo Saka, and the pleasure of playing at Wembley.
“We’ve kept things as normal as possible. Over the last few years, the players have gained big match experience and there’s hardly an experience they’ve not been through.
“We need to be able to deal with [Denmark’s] play between the lines, stop their presses and use the ball in the way we have in the last few matches, with the movement that will cause them problems.
“What [Bukayo Saka] has done in the previous matches, he has embraced that challenge. We were pleased with Jadon [Sancho] at the weekend but felt in terms of the balance for tonight, Bukayo was the right choice.
“I’m pretty sure there’s not a team who takes to the pitch without pressure so I don’t buy that [England have more pressure]. But the players have coped with it really well.
“For us, it’s great to be at Wembley. We hope the fans are enjoying it as much as we are. We hope we can give them what they want tonight.”
Jorginho reveals how he felt when taking the decisive Italy penalty to eliminate Spain and reach the UEFA EURO 2020 Final. ‘I took a deep breath.’
The Azzurri had taken the lead through Federico Chiesa, cancelled out by substitute Alvaro Morata for a 1-1 draw, so the semi-final went to extra time and then penalties.
“It was a struggle against a great team that made us run so hard, we knew we’d have to suffer, but we believed to the end and in my view deserved to win,” Jorginho told Sky Sport Italia.
The Chelsea midfielder is famously almost infallible from the penalty spot, so naturally he was ice cool for the final kick in this shoot-out.
He stepped up and calmly passed it into the corner with very little power, having sent Unai Simon the wrong way.
“When you take the kick, you feel this weight fall off your shoulders! I tried to forget everything around me, focus on what I’d trained to do, took a deep breath and got on with it,” explained the midfielder.
The Azzurri now go through to the Final on Sunday, where they will face either England or Denmark.
Jorginho outlined the strengths that have taken Italy this far, a side that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and have been completely transformed under Roberto Mancini.
“Italy never give up, we always believe. This is a marvellous squad that deserves all the best, because we suffer together, we play together, laugh together, joke together and like all families can argue together at times, but we always end up there together.”
Spain coach Luis Enrique confirms he used a False 9 after seeing how Italy ‘dealt with’ Romelu Lukaku so comfortably, and is cheering on the Azzurri in the UEFA EURO 2020 Final.
It was 1-1 after 90 minutes with Alvaro Morata coming off the bench to cancel out a Federico Chiesa opener, then the Nazionale won a penalty shoot-out.
He told RAI Sport: “Happy for what I saw, the level was incredible between two quality teams who tried to play good football. I think it was a spectacle for afficionados of the sport.
“I congratulate Italy and hope they can put in another fine performance in the Final, trying to win the trophy.
“I have no regrets. Everyone has to do his job and do all that he can. Italy started with extraordinary intensity, so did we, it was like two sportscars racing each other, head-to-head, and some of the best football we’ve seen in the Euros.”
Luis Enrique seemed to completely stump Roberto Mancini by using a False 9, leaving both Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno on the bench.
“I saw Chiellini and Bonucci deal with Lukaku and thought maybe it’s better to take away a reference point, add another body in midfield. It was a good plan, we overcame the Italy press and played really well.
“It won’t be good for the English, but yes, I will cheer on Italy in the Final.”
Italy have reached the UEFA Euro 2020 Final, beating Spain on penalties in the semis. Check out the Azzurri’s player ratings.
Donnarumma 8 – Denied Dani Olmo in the first half. Was good between the sticks, not as much with the ball at his feet, but saved the decisive penalty on Alvaro Morata.
Di Lorenzo 7 – Ferran Torres is not the easiest opponent to deal with. Not a coincidence the Napoli defender fouled the Spaniard three times in the opening 35 minutes. In the second half, he intercepted a dangerous pass for Dani Olmo and moved on the left flank when Toloi came in.
Bonucci 6.5 – Luis Enrique didn’t start a classic centre forward, giving the 34-year-old and Giorgio Chiellini no reference point to mark. He shared the responsibility for Spain’s equaliser with Chiellini and Barella. Clinical from the spot.
Chiellini 6 – He was the Italy player to complete most passes in the first half, meaning Spain did a good job preventing his fellow Azzurri teammates to pick the ball and build the attack. He made it too easy for his Juventus teammate Morata to receive the ball and score the equaliser.
Emerson 7 – The Chelsea full-back replaced Spinazzola, who had been one of Italy’s best players, if not the best one, during the competition. Emerson created the first and only opportunities for the Azzurri in the first half after an efficient combination of passes with Lorenzo Insigne. (Toloi 72 – 6.5 Solid rock at the back, picked up a yellow card.)
Verratti 5 – A tough game for the PSG midfielder. Many highs and lows in the middle of the pitch as he couldn’t always cope with Spain’s dynamic midfielders. (Pessina 72 6 – Not as smooth as in the previous games, but helped the team keep things tight in midfield)
Jorginho 7 – Struggled to be an influence given Italy’s lack of possession, but his interceptions were always accurate. Scored the decisive penalty.
Barella 5 – Looked very tired and more quiet than he usually is and lost too many balls. (Locatelli 84 5.5 – Tough game for him too, missed the only penalty for the Azzurri, but in the end it didn’t matter.)
Chiesa 7 – Italy didn’t create any trouble for Spain down the right flank in the first half and Chiesa was probably sweating when he saw Domenico Berardi warming up before the break. He couldn’t find a better way to redeem himself than putting Italy ahead with a wonderful curler.
Immobile 6 – Had been harshly criticised, for multiple reasons, for his performance against Belgium. He didn’t really produce anything better against Spain, until he kept a possession alive, which was decisive for Chiesa’s opening goal. (Berardi 61 5.5 – Wasted two golden chances to double Italy’s lead.)
Insigne 6 – His former coach Maurizio Sarri has recently claimed Insigne has been Italy’s best player for a few years now. The diminutive Napoli winger was undoubtedly among the most dangerous in the first half as he teamed up with Emerson Palmieri to create the best opportunities for the Azzurri. Couldn’t produce the same in the second half. (Belotti 84 5.5 – Was often caught off-side, but was clinical from the spot.)
Chelsea’s midfielder Jorginho scored the last penalty kick that sent Italy into the final of Euro 2020 after a pulsating encounter against Spain at Wembley Stadium.
Federico Chiesa put Italy in front before Spain substitute Alvaro Morata levelled 10 minutes from the end of normal time.
Morata’s joy would later turn to tears, however, as he missed the decisive spot-kick for his country before Jorginho won it for Italy.
Nicolò Barella’s lob thumped the inside of the far post within four minutes, but he had just wandered offside. Oyarzabal’s first touch let him down when clear on goal, allowing Emerson to intercept, then Ciro Immobile and Barella were unable to make the most of an Unai Simon error.
Gianluigi Donnarumma had to be alert after Dani Olmo won a lucky ricochet off Leonardo Bonucci, as Spain’s False 9 approach seemed to take Italy by surprise.
Emerson almost scored on the stroke of half-time, as he was set up by Lorenzo Insigne’s reverse pass, but the shot was deflected off Cesar Azpilicueta to clip the crossbar.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo made a crucial interception on the Dani Olmo cross for Ferran Torres and Sergio Busquets fired over, then Simon smothered Federico Chiesa’s angled drive.
Donnarumma sparked the Italy goal by restarting play quickly, Insigne’s assist sent Immobile through, it took two defenders to block him off, leaving space for Chiesa to gather the loose ball and score with a wonderful right-foot curler from 15 yards.
Roberto Mancini also countered the Spain system with his own False 9, introducing Domenico Berardi for misfiring Immobile.
Oyarzabal really should’ve equalised, but only grazed the cross for what was a free header at the back post, while Olmo again fired wide.
Chiesa set up Berardi to force a save from Simon’s legs and Berardi was denied too, but Juventus striker Alvaro Morata came off the bench to score the equaliser. He burst through the centre, completed a give-and-go with Olmo and calmly passed it into the net one-on-one with Donnarumma. This was the first time in the entire competition that Italy had conceded an equaliser.
Spain had just one win in EURO 2020 after 90 minutes, as the Round of 16 with Croatia went to extra time and Switzerland were only beaten on penalties.
In extra time, Donnarumma was alert on a Dani Olmo free kick and punched a cross off the head of Morata, with Giorgio Chiellini charging down the Marcos Llorente follow-up.
Berardi’s curler looked to be going in before a decisive Laporte block, then moments later the Sassuolo man had the ball in the net, but was offside.
They could not be separated and the semi-final went to penalties, where Italy had lost both times before against Spain in EURO 2008 and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
The lottery saw Manuel Locatelli’s effort saved and Dani Olmo fire over, then Donnarumma saved Morata’s attempt and Jorginho calmly rolled in the decisive kick to send Italy into the Final.
Italy will meet either Denmark or England in the European Championship final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Spain.