FOOTBALL – Italy beats Austria and advances to the quarter-finals of the Euro 2020 championship with two goals in extra time.
Substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina scored in extra time to help Italy beat Austria 2-1 and advance to the quarterfinals of the European Championship.
Chiesa scored in the fifth minute of extra time and Pessina added the second in the 105th minute. Sasa Kalajdzic reduced the deficit for Austria with a header in the 114th, setting the scene for a tense few minutes.
Italy also set a team record of 31 matches unbeaten.
Austria resilient and calm under pressure
Austria was calm in possession early on, but Leonardo Spinazzola made an early run down the winf, and another on 10 minutes that ended with a shot into the side netting.
Italy’s first shot at goal came from Nicolò Barella after Spinazzola set off, threading a pass back to Barella whose low shot was blocked by a Bachmann.
Then the Italian siege began. With 31 minutes gone Ciro Immobile turned and his dipping shot dropped on to the top of the post. By half-time, Italy had 11 attempts at goal to Austria’s one. Yet the score sheet remained a desultory 0-0.
Austria started the second half brightly, keeping the ball, and containing the Italian threat on the left flank. Italy’s frustration seemed to have manifested into dejection as a fine header from Arnautovic hit the back of the neck. As Italy trudged back for the kick off, VAR ruled the goal offside.
It was all Austria for a while with a series of fluent attacks. However, at the end of 90 minutes, extra time beckoned.
It was then that Mancini’s team talk and tactics paid off. Two goals from Chiesa and Pessina secured Italy’s place in the quarter-finals.
Italy boss Roberto Mancini said after the match, “We knew we had to suffer because Austria are the typical side who do not allow to play well. The substitutes made the difference for us, but everybody gave their best tonight. I’m happy because the lads gave everything to win even when we were tired.”
Leonardo Spinazzola picked up his second Man of the Match award during the tournament for being “electric in attack, brilliant at the back”.
Italy will play either defending champion Portugal or Belgium in the Euro 2020 quarterfinals in Munich on Friday.