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The unprecedented challenge of a century-old rivalry

Only once was it a final, at least at a national level. But tomorrow’s match between Italy and Spain, although proposed at Euro 2020, is a competition that would have deserved the stage of the final chapter. The rivalry that began in September 1920, during a century of direct clashes, has written some historical pages. Tomorrow evening at Wembley, Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique will compete to reach the Euro 2020 final, in a match that all Red Cross fans will watch in tears, as they contemplate the penalty shootout in the quarter-finals. I played against Roja.

And for the first time in a hundred years, London will be a different and unprecedented challenge. Because Mancini’s Italy was unparalleled, it was finally in favor of a purposeful game, in many ways similar to that of the revolution espoused by Spain fifteen years ago that led it to victory, between 2008 and 2012, over two Europeans and the World Cup. So far, Italy (which went 32 games unbeaten) was undoubtedly the most convincing team, in terms of results, but above all in terms of play. He eliminated all three group opponents (Turkey, Switzerland and Wales), struggled to overtime (and with Var’s help) against Austria, and dispatched top-ranked Belgium. Always (or almost) at the level of performance, backed by the dominant midfield (Jorginho, Barella, Verratti or Locatelli). Spain cannot say the same. Silent match with two draws (Sweden and Poland), woken up when Busquets returned from Covid isolation to regain the keys to the Iberian match. With the Catalan in midfield, Spain returned 5-0 against Slovakia, 5-3 in overtime against Croatia and 4-2 on penalties against Switzerland, nonetheless showing that they have confidence and solid foundations. , which can be relied on for a maneuver that is always centered around possession of the ball and great technical skills.

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Both national teams are in their ascendant phase: Technicians had the courage to leave the mega-personalities at home to make room for both younger and lesser players, but factored in the game idea they wanted to propose. At Wembley, Roberto Mancini and Luis Enrique will have to dispense with one important element each: the Italian coach will not be able to engage Leonardo Spinazzola (Achilles tendon rupture), Pablo Sarabia will not be available in Iberi (muscular problems). The prediction is clearly very open, as has always been the case in the 37 live matches played so far (a slight Iberian advantage with 13 wins, 13 draws and 11 defeats).

Big Zamora refused

It was said that many of them wrote pages of history. We will undoubtedly remember Tassotti’s famous elbow strike against Luis Enrique in the 1994 World Cup Final, as well as the 4-0 victory in the only final played so far (Euro 2012): but the bitter rivalry really began in the 1934 World Cup. Held in Italy. On May 31, the two teams met in the quarter-finals, and at the end of the 90 minutes, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. The next day, iteration but without the presence of Ricardo Zamora, at that time the best goalkeeper in the world. In the first match, Italy tied with a Ferrari goal spoiled by Schiavio on Zamora, then the Azzurri hit it repeatedly with the approval of Belgian referee Bert. The exact reasons for Zamora’s confiscation were never revealed, and there was official talk of a rib injury. And in the return match, directed by the Swiss Merset, Meazza scored the decisive goal in the 12th minute and failed to award a penalty kick to the Iberian in the 90th minute.

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The two teams will return to the competition in direct elimination only in the World Cup in the United States. Still in the living, he’s still playing with the knife between his teeth. Dino Baggio’s opening goal, Camineiro’s equalizer in the 58th minute and a new Italian advantage with Roberto Baggio in the 88th. In injury time, Luis Enrique hit the face with an elbow from Tasotti (wake up bleeding completely), but Hungarian referee Sandor Paul did not concede a kick Holy reward.

Beginning of the course

La Roja retaliated in 2008, ousting Italy from the Swiss and Austrian European Championships with a success they had been missing in official matches for 88 years. The penalty shootout ended after 0-0 in the system and overtime, as Iker Casillas managed to block the conclusions of De Rossi and De Natale.

The last peak of Iberian magic in a four-year period, the two teams met, on July 1, 2012, in the continental final in Kiev. In that edition of the European Championship, Spain and Italy faced each other in the group stage, which left them with Solomonique 1-1. But the final was entirely Iberian, with David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scoring goals.

The last cross returns to Euro 2016 (the Round of 16), with a clear 2-0 victory for Conte’s national team (Chellini and Pele scorers), against eleven players Del Bosque, who has already returned from the disastrous World Cup in Brazil.

After that, Italy and Spain faced each other in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, with a draw in Turin and an Iberian victory in Madrid, results that forced Italy to face Sweden, with the conclusion that everyone knows …

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Euro 2020: results and standings

Queenie Bell

"Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar."

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