Spain progressed to the UEFA Nations League final after beating Italy 2-1 at the San Siro. Spain's two goals were scored in the first half by Ferran Torres while Italy's only goal was scored late in the second half by Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Spain striker Ferran Torres (Photo credit: SPORT)
That was Italy's first loss on home ground since 1999 and it ended their 37-game unbeaten run which began after they were beaten by Portugal on 10 September 2018.
Some fans and pundits have blamed the defeat on fatigue because of how dominant the Spanish midfield was. They claimed that the Italian midfielders especially Jorginho have played too many games compared to the Spanish midfielders since both countries met in the semi-final round of the Euro 2020 tournament.
I think that misconception has taken the shine off Spain's brilliant performance. According to transfermarkt.us, Jorginho has featured in 10 games for Chelsea this season and that has resulted in a total of 702 minutes. That is fewer minutes than his Spanish counterpart Sergio Busquets who has a total of 734 minutes in 9 games. It is also the same for Marco Verratti and his Spanish counterpart Gavi.
Marco Verratti pulls Gavi's shirt to stop him from getting away in the UEFA Nations League semi-final match between Italy and Spain
I think Spain won because they wanted it more. Losing to Italy in the semi-final stage of the Euro 2020 tournament must have hurt as the match was so close that it took a penalty shootout to separate both countries.
Having reached the final, Spain will play the winner of the second semi-final match between Belgium and France. That match promises to be another entertaining game and it takes place on Thursday. The final itself will be played on Sunday, 10 October 2021.
The defeat to Spain will hurt but Italy will have to put that behind them as they will be playing the losing team of the second semi-final in a 3rd place match on the 10th of October as well.
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