Substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina sent Italy into the last eight with extra-time strikes.
Italy progressed to the quarter-finals at the expense of a brave Austria side thanks to extra-time goals by substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina at Wembley Stadium.
Match in brief
Italy, aiming for a national-record 31 games unbeaten, started the brighter with the impressive Leonardo Spinazzola setting up the first presentable chance for Nicolò Barella, whose drive was kept out by Daniel Bachmann’s outstretched boot. Marko Arnautović fired over as Austria offered a counterattacking threat but the Azzurri went closest before the interval when Ciro Immobile’s long-range rocket clattered the post.
Roberto Mancini’s side were less fluent in the second half and could have fallen behind twice, first when Marcel Sabitzer’s effort deflected just wide and then when Arnautović’s fine header was ruled out for offside.
The Azzurri made the most of that let-off, albeit in extra time, when Chiesa prodded Spinazzola’s cross back past Konrad Laimer and rifled his finish across Bachmann. Fellow replacement Pessina then pounced following a goalmouth scramble to rifle in the second and that proved decisive after Austrian sub Sasa Kalajdzic’s clever header from a corner set up a tense finale.
Star of the Match: Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy)
“He had a very good first half and was always a threat down the left side. He showed good link-up play with Lorenzo Insigne, great awareness to play the pass for the first goal and a great crossfield pass to set up the cross for the second.”
Packie Bonner, UEFA Technical Observer
Paolo Menicucci, Italy reporter
Roberto Mancini continues to stress how there are 26 first-choice players in this team and the substitutes proved him right once again, making the difference when it was most needed. Italy were on the verge of a knockout in the second half against a very good Austria but found the necessary fresh energy from the bench. Italy will need more against the likes of Romelu Lukaku or Cristiano Ronaldo in the quarter-finals, but tonight’s lesson could be important for the Azzurri.
Jordan Maciel, Austria reporter
A bittersweet outing at Wembley but Austria exit the competition with their heads held high. For 120 minutes, they went toe to toe with the stand-out team of the tournament and had their fans dreaming of the impossible. In the end, only Italy’s immense squad depth could separate the two sides, but that’s no slight on Franco Foda’s squad. Chapeau, Burschen!
Matteo Pessina, Italy midfielder: “I am still trying to take in my goal against Wales, so imagine how this one feels. I will remember it for the rest of my career. In this team everybody can score and this is our main strength – we are a great group.”
Leonardo Spinazzola, Italy defender: “I’m happy with the victory – I think we played as a real team tonight. We defended all together when we needed to. After 90 minutes, we said that we just had to improve the quality of the final passes and finally the goals arrived in extra time.”
David Alaba, Austria captain: “It’s not easy to put that into words. We can be proud of ourselves, Austria can be proud of us. We gave everything but in the end we weren’t rewarded for our performance. That’s really tough to take.”
Sasa Kalajdzic, Austria forward: “I think the whole of Austria can be proud of this team. It came down to small things that decided the game. My goal was great – I don’t think my head has ever been so close to the ground.”
- Chiesa joins his dad, Enrico, in scoring at a EURO finals. His father scored against the Czech Republic at EURO ’96.
- Pessina has now scored four goals in his last four appearances for Italy.
- Pessina’s goal was the 100th scored at EURO 2020.
- Italy have conceded just two first-half goals in their last 18 EURO final tournament matches.
- Italy have scored nine goals in four games at EURO 2020, matching their previous highest total at a EURO of nine in 2000.
- This was the eighth time Italy have gone to extra time in a EURO finals match – more than any other side in the history of the competition. It was the first occasion for Austria.
- This was Austria’s first EURO knockout phase match. Their last one at any major international tournament was at the 1954 World Cup.
- Kalajdzic’s goal ended Italy’s run of 11 international matches without conceding.
Italy: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola; Barella (Pessina 67), Jorginho, Verratti (Locatelli 67); Berardi (Chiesa 84), Immobile (Belotti 84), Insigne (Cristante 108)
Austria: Bachmann; Lainer (Trimmel 114), Dragović, Hinteregger, Alaba; Laimer (Ilsanker 114), Grillitsch (Schaub 106), X. Schlager (Gregoritsch 106); Sabitzer, Baumgartner (Schöpf 90); Arnautović (Kalajdzic 97)