It was not until the end of the first extension of this Euro 2020 to see the Nazionale extricate itself from the trap set by Die Rot-Weiss-Roten. 3 victories in as many games, 7 goals scored, 0 conceded: this was however the course of Italy in this Euro 2020 before the kick-off of this round of 16 against Austria. Something to impress and make Squadra Azzura the main favorite for the final victory in the eyes of many football observers. But before thinking of the coronation, it was necessary to rub shoulders with Austrians determined to create a surprise at Wembley. For this part, Roberto Mancini renewed his 4-3-3 with the future goalkeeper of PSG in the goals, Donnarumma. But above all, the former Manchester City coach in particular aligned Acerbi in the central hinge because of Chiellini’s package. Verratti chained him a second tenure in the competition in the midfield. For his part, Franco Foda opted for a 4-2-3-1 led by Alaba, Sabitzer or Arnautovic.
In a rather balanced, lively and engaged start to the match, the two selections showed the desire to quickly project themselves forward. But Austria struggled to bring danger to the cage guarded by Donnarumma, if not on a timid distant attempt by Arnautovic (18th). Italy, gradually taking the game to its own, insisted in front of the Austrian goals. Spinazzola could not find the frame (11th), where Barella, served by the player of AS Roma, saw his shot at point blank range repelled by the goalkeeper Bachmann on his line (17th). Die Rot-Weiss-Roten was even close to cracking on a dry shot coming to death on the top of the left post of Bachmann (32nd). But the finish was not there in the first period for the Italians, like a too soft strike from Spinazzola (43rd) or even the helmet blow from Di Lorenzo (44th).
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Austria shakes up Squadra Azzura …
Upon returning from the locker room, Italy showed a much more timid face, or at least, Franco Foda’s men had settled their defensive problems which offered many spaces to the Transalpines. At the same time, Austria, without complex, obtained the biggest situations and roughed up the Nazionale. Arnautovic narrowly missed the frame of Donnarumma (49th), before being imitated by Alaba on a free kick at the entrance of the Italian surface (52nd) then Sabitzer (62nd). Roberto Mancini’s players played to scare each other and Arnautovic, after warming the gloves of the last opposing rampart (63rd), finally found the net, at close range with his head after a nice collective movement initiated by an opening by Lainer and relayed by the skull of Alaba. But after the intervention of the VAR, Anthony Taylor logically refused this goal for an offside position of the former West Ham scorer (67th).
As if stunned by this emotional lift, the Austrians retreated and let Italy regain ground. The teammates of a Marco Verratti omnipresent in the first period declining in the second act (before leaving in the 68th minute) did not need to be asked but did not find the solution in the decisive zone, unlike the first 45 minutes. But the regulatory time was not enough for the two nations to decide between themselves and it was therefore necessary to go through the extension box, a first in this Euro 2020.
But cracks in overtime
After having lived a very calm second act without intervention to perform, Bachmann was quickly put to contribution by a strike low to the ground from Chiesa (94th), who came into play in the 84th minute in place of Berardi. And it is precisely from the winger of Juventus that the light came in this part. Served by a delicious opening from Spinazzola to the right of the Austrian area, Chiesa controlled the leather with success before making a hook and a close-angle strike leaving no chance for Bachmann (1-0, 95th). Enough to imitate his dad, also a scorer with this Italian jersey at Euro 1996. The blow would quickly become fatal for Austria. If Insigne stumbled on an inspired Bachmann on a free kick (104th), Pessina, also out of the substitutes’ bench, came to register the goal of the break. On an ideal service from Acerbi in the area, the nugget of Atalanta unleashed a cross shot to adjust the opposing goalkeeper and thus seal the fate of this long undecided meeting (2-0, 105th).
Die Rot-Weiss-Roten was all the same rewarded for its efforts since after a good flight from Donnarumma to repel a missile from Schaub (106th), the latter kicked a corner taken victoriously by Lakajdzic in a pocket handkerchief to reduce the gap on the scoreboard (2-1, 114th). After a rescue in extremis of Trimmel on his line in front of Chiesa (119th), Italy has therefore validated his ticket for the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, for the fourth consecutive time in this competition. Squadra Azzura confirms that it will be necessary to count on it for the title of European champion while Austria is eliminated with its head held high, for what was only the 2nd round of 16 in its history (after 1964) .
Find the full table of the final phase