Italy to miss Nations League final after Spain’s semifinal win

Italy to miss Nations League final after Spain’s semifinal win

Ferran Torres’ brace helped Spain reach the final of the UEFA Nations League after winning against the European Champions Italy 2-1, ending Roberto Mancini’s European trophy haul and record unbeaten run in Milan. Spain will now head to the finals against either Belgium or France, while Italy will return for the third-place playoff.  Follow us for more international friendlies and weekly football results.

“The game played out beautifully for us but that was a match of two rivals going at it hammer and tongs with their best qualities on show,” Spain coach Luis Enrique said. “My team looked dangerous throughout, we pressed well and I’m pretty happy. We defended by pressing high, by being brave, and we showed a brilliant attitude. But this is just one game for us, not a generational-marking win.”

Manchester City forward Torres struck twice in the first half to clinch the win for La Roja, while Lorenzo Pellegrini hit a consolation with seven minutes left before the final whistle. In the same match in front of 37,000 fan inside San Siro, Spain featured Barcelona teenager 17-year-old Gavi Páez, making him the youngest player to make his Spain debut, breaking the national record set by Ángel Zubieta in 1936.

“We knew it was a special game, we went out in the semi-finals of the Euros and what better way to beat them at home in other semi-finals,” Torres said. Italy, who won against Spain in the semifinal round of the Euro 2020, was aiming for a European trophy haul heading to this defeat. Their last defeat came in the group stage of the Nations League in 2018 against Portugal.

“This what matches are like, sometimes certain episodes can influence them,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “This is a disappointment. We should have stayed with 11 men, we made a mistake that you can’t make at this level,” he added. This game was also Italy’s first defeat in a competitive match at home since the 3-2 defeat to Denmark in September 1999.

Reigning World Champions France will take on FIFA’s top rank side Belgium at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in the second semifinal matchup that will determine who will be Spain’s opponent in the final.

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