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With an unlikely hero, Spain beat Italy to reach the UEFA Nations League final

Spain secured its place in the final of the UEFA Nations League by beating Italy 2-1. Now, Spain will face Croatia in the dispute for the unprecedented title of the tournament, which will take place on Sunday, at 15:45 (Brasília time), in Rotterdam. Meanwhile, Italy and the Netherlands duel for third place on the same day at 10am in Enschede. Get ready for more emotions and surprises at this great sporting event.



Already in the first minutes of the game, Spain took advantage of a lack of attention from the Italians and opened the scoring. After a mix-up when the ball came out of Italy, Leonardo Bonucci missed the move and saw Yéremi Pino score just 3 minutes into the game. It didn’t take long for Italy to equalize. In the ninth minute Nicolò Zaniolo received a pass in the area and shot towards the goal, but ended up hitting the hand of Robin Le Normand in the middle of the way. The referee awarded a penalty immediately and Immobile did not waste it, scoring the goal to even the score with just 10 minutes of play. After the goal, the Italian pressure continued, and the Spaniards tried to counterattack creatively, but failed in the final passes. Even finding difficulties in the attack area, they were unable to finish efficiently.

In a quick counter-attack move, the Italians almost turned the game around. In the 20th minute, Spinazzola made a beautiful pass to Frattesi, in the middle of the defense, and the midfielder sent the ball towards the goal. However, VAR reviewed the bid and called offside, annulling the goal. The answer didn’t take long to arrive, in the 26th minute, when Álvaro Morata risked a shot from outside the area, but Gianluigi Donnarumma made a great save.

Immobile celebrating goal. Playback/Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters



The second half started with Spain keeping up the pressure, just like in the first half, after three minutes, Mikel Merino arrived at a cross and stopped in a quick defense by Donnarumma, with Morata taking the rebound in the area and losing it incredibly. Italy seemed content to take that pressure and focus on counterattacks throughout the game.

In the sixth minute, the Italy goalkeeper threw a strange punch after a cross on a free kick, and Rodri tried a volley, but ended up missing another goal with an empty net. In the 15th minute, Mancini made some changes, including replacing Jorginho, the dissatisfied naturalized Brazilian, with Bryan Cristante. He also changed strategy, opting to press the ball and push opponents back. That tactic paid off after just four minutes, when Frattesi received a pass in the area, took advantage of Aymeric Laporte’s slip and shot hard, but it was stopped by Unai Simón.

Noting the sudden change, Luis de la Fuente also did his part and made the team’s game more dynamic and with greater control of the ball. In the 35th minute, they came in dangerously down the left side, in the area, in a move in which Jordi Alba passed to Morata. However, Morata, pressured by Francesco Acerbi’s marking, missed another scoring opportunity. Soon after, Morata was replaced by Joselu. The last substitute to enter was the unlikely hero of the European night. He took advantage of a deflection from the defense after a shot by Rodri and, being in a legal position at the moment of the shot, he overcame the goalkeeper and defined the final score of the match.


Featured Photo: Joselu celebrates Spain’s winning goal in the League of Nations. Reproduction/REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Santos and Palmeiras are in a goalless draw for the Brasileirão

With an unlikely hero, Spain beat Italy to reach the UEFA Nations League final

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