77 minutes: The corner is processed quite easily. Morata really should have fired his shot the first time around, when there was a realistic chance of beating Donnarumma. His lack of confidence in the broad sense.
76 minutes: Busquets slides Morata into the area at the bottom right. He faces a narrow angle, but level and level before finally shooting, when the angle is super tough. The ball is easily deflected for a corner.
74 minutes: Double change for Italy as Pessina and Toloi replace Emerson and Verratti. Toloi will take Di Lorenzo’s place at the right-back; Di Lorenzo will pass to the other flank.
73 minutes: Italy lashes it in the back. They look confident. Maybe too confident, as Donnarumma slams a dismal pass straight to Morata. Luckily for the Italian keeper, the Spanish striker can’t control, and the ball comes out for an Italian throw.
71 minutes: Pedri pursues a lost cause on the left and digs a cross. He falls at the far post. Donnarumma beats and spins, but gets out of prison thanks to the awkward – and unnecessary – Azpilicueta block. Free kick.
70 minutes: Oyarzabal, who missed Spain’s two biggest chances of the night, gives way to Moreno, while Koke is replaced by Rodri.
68 minutes: After coming so close to the equalizer, Spain almost lost two goals, with Chiesa sending a ball to Berardi, just inside the box on the right. Berardi aims for the near post, where Simon clears. Good luck guessing which direction this is going to go, as it is balanced on the proverbial edge.
67 minutes: Oyarzabal, however, did not give up the ghost. On the outskirts of the Italian surface, with his back to the goal, he cushions a long ball for Olmo, who hits a vicious low blow a few centimeters to the right. On target, Donnarumma did not understand this; he was nailed to the spot.
65 minutes: Spain should be level. Koke, 25 meters and a little to the left of the center, hits a magnificent ball over the Italian backline and descends towards Oyarzabal at the penalty spot. Any contact, and he’s sure to get it on the net. But he doesn’t! As the Wembley crowd coos and the ball bounces harmlessly off the right post, poor Oyarzabal has the appearance of a man looking exactly 1,000 yards into the distance. Emptied and pained.
63 minutes: Spain wins a corner to the left, but does not do much. They look collectively shaken. The blow to have conceded such an excellent goal on the meter, after having probed dangerously the other end, I suppose.
62 minutes: Chiesa is a hell of a player… and he clearly enjoys playing here at Wembley, having scored another cracker against Austria last week. It was also an end.
61 minutes: Before the restart, Immobile is replaced by Berardi, and Torres makes way for Morata.
GOAL! Italy 1-0 Spain (Chiesa 60)
What a finish! What purpose! Olmo causes all kinds of trouble at the edge of the Italian box, but Alba’s cross is immediately captured by Donnarumma and against Italy. Verratti does well in the lower left and slides into the field for Motionless on the edge of the box. Laporte slips to block. The ball breaks on the left. Chiesa clings to it, takes a touch and rolls up a stun on the top right! Unstoppable, and Wembley breaks out!
58 minutes: Oyarzabal finds some space, 25 meters, and sends a rising strike to the top right. Donnarumma is behind it all, but he still needed a secure pair of hands. A nice strike.
57 minutes: Olmo wins a flank ball that he was not allowed to win. He walks away from a few blue shirts and feeds the ball into the field. With light Italy in the back all of a sudden, Torres has options on either side. He’s dragging far too long and his shot is blocked. What a waste of a good opportunity.
53 minutes: Italy responds by quickly smashing the other end, Immobile’s attack pitching shot shuttled right for Chiesa, who tries to catch up with Simon at his near post. Simon falls to suffocate.
52 minutes: Olmo slides to the right and rolls a ball across the surface of the Spanish box for Busquets, who shoots to the upper right corner for the first time. Barely finished, and if he had been on target, it was not clear Donnarumma was getting there.
51 minutes: The first booking of the evening goes to Busquets, who hits Immobile to the ground as the Italian striker was spinning him. It wasn’t the worst fault in isolation, and while you could argue that it was pretty much worth a yellow, it’s almost certainly a build-up thing,
50 minutes: Olmo crosses deeply on the right. With Torres on his shoulder, Di Lorenzo was extremely successful in taking a corner kick. Nothing comes from that.
49 minutes: Italy immediately returns to Spain, the hustle and bustle of Immobile gaining a pocket of space just outside the box. He tries to grab Simon, stuck in the no man’s land of his line, but is wrong and the ball jumps harmlessly.
48 minutes: Simon manages a clearance without any pressure, and it’s an Italian corner from scratch. The crowd, perhaps aware of his howl at Croatia, gives him the bird. Nothing comes from the resulting set.
47 minutes: Oyarzabal and Olmo take turns performing a few tricks on the right and for a second almost seem to disturb the Italian backline. But the gaps are quickly filled by the cunning Azzurri.
OK, so we’re only 45 minutes into extra time and possible penalties. Italy has a countdown to it all. Neither manager made a change at the break. Meanwhile, would anyone like to live in the Simon McMahon multiverse? I only ask because I’m in it. “In my alternate Euros universe,” he wrote, “Scotland would have given these two teams a good hiding place. The final against North Macedonia is however too close to be announced.
Part-time entertainment. Yes, that’s the hottest national anthem action, courtesy of Paul Roche. “The Italian anthem has not always been sung with so much enthusiasm,” he reports. “Look at the 1994 World Cup.”
It is indeed a room with low energy consumption. Although to be fair, the focus was much less on performance feeling and passion at the time, as this example of the now bloody haka illustrates …
HALF TIME: Italy 0-0 Spain
The referee adds two more seconds before blowing for the break. Olmo, who was about to barge into a space in the middle of the park, is livid. Everyone is leaving. That’s almost half and not quite. To be fair, the quasi-drawers were of high quality, not quite the top of the line.
45 minutes : Badge dribbles from the left, drawing two white shirts and reverse passing to Emerson in space. Emerson, facing a tight angle, goes up left and cuts off the top of the bar! The ball goes out for a goal kick.
43 minutes: Pedri tries to push his way through the Italian defense on the left, but Olmo’s comeback is passed and Donnarumma claims.
41 minutes: Italy is slowing down a bit. It is now the turn of the Spanish supporters to whistle their dissatisfaction.
39 minutes: Busquets and Pedri combine smoothly in the left inner channel. Pedri then slips a diagonal pass to Oyarzabal, just to the right of D. Oyarzabal chooses to shoot for the first time, aiming for a spectacular curler in the upper left. He does indeed find the top left, but only from the stand behind the goal. Full notes for ambition, however, and it was a nice sweeping move.
37 minutes: Emerson lets off steam in the middle, in a lot of space with great passion. He has options on both sides, but takes a step too far and is ultimately stolen by Busquets. Spain looked very light at the back, so this must be a missed opportunity to upset Simon, one way or another.
35 minutes: Di Lorenzo leaves one on Torres, forcing the referee to point and wiggle his finger. No reservation however. Speaking of which, here is Kári Tulinius: “I did not expect these teams to play such a frantic game. Even Busquets seems a little flustered. This game will likely be settled by a player who finds a pocket of calm in the midst of the storm. Or the emotions will overflow the old fashioned way. Felix Brych was in charge during Belgium-Portugal, which has become quite traditional, in terms of tackling.
34 minutes: Insignia has been fairly calm, but now he doubles up with Immobile and almost opens up Spain on the lower left. Azpilicueta puts him offside for a goal kick.
33 minutes: Olmo is causing Italy all kinds of trouble. Now he’s worried about the thin blue line on the back with a determined skitter inside to the right. He hits the edge of the front D, with options on either side, sending a deflected shot over the bar. Now he has Torres and Oyarzabal giving him sharp advice in stereo.
31 minutes: Chiesa hurtles down the right sideline at high speed. For a second, it looks like he’s going to sensationalize himself, but Laporte elegantly pushes him away.