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UEFA Nations League Semi-Final: Spain 2-1 Italy

Spain carried the day with a 2-1 victory over Italy to set up a Nations League final against Croatia on Sunday; Italy will face Netherlands in a third-place play-off, also on Sunday.


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Substitute Joselu’s last-gasp strike secured Spain a 2-1 victory as they set up a Nations League final against Croatia.

Yeremy Pino’s early strike (3) gave Luis de la Fuente’s side the advantage but Italy responded through Ciro Immobile’s penalty (11) after Nicolo Zaniolo’s volley struck the arm of Robin Le Normand.

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Joselu strikes late to set up Nations League final against Croatia.

Spain now faces Croatia, who beat the Netherlands 4-2 after extra time on Wednesday evening, in the final in Rotterdam on Sunday, while Italy will face the Dutch in the third-place play-off.

Both Rodrigo and Jesus Navas started for Spain for the first time in three years.

Meanwhile, Rodri, fresh from winning the Champions League with Man City, started in the middle of the park.

Read Also: Croatia Stun Netherlands to reach Nations League finals

Ciro Immobile got the nod for Italy ahead of Mateo Retegui Newcastle target Nicolo Barella started in midfield and his Inter team-mate Francesco Acerbi also took his place in Italy’s defence after featuring in his side’s Champions League final defeat to City last Saturday.

Spain vs Italy drama

In a frantic start, Italy were punished for some sloppy passing out from the back as Pino nicked possession from Leonardo Bonucci before firing past Gianluigi Donnarumma into the far corner to give Spain an early lead.

However, it didn’t last long as Italy struck back immediately. Jorginho’s inch-perfect pass picked out Zaniolo in the penalty area, and the Galatasaray winger’s volley struck the hand of Le Normand.

Referee Slavko Vincic took his time before correctly pointing to the spot before Immobile tucked away the penalty to bring Italy level.

The frantic nature of the game continued as both sides struggled to get control, but it was Italy who thought they had taken the advantage when Frattesi latched onto another superb through ball from Jorginho before finishing past goalkeeper Simon. However, VAR intervened with the Sassuolo midfielder just failing to time his run.

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Extra time looked inevitable as both teams started to run out of ideas and energy as they looked for a winner, but Rodri’s shot bounced off two defenders and fell kindly for Joselu, who poked home from four yards to spark the Spanish celebrations.


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