Italy Crushed, Spain to Face Croatia in UEFA Nations League Final

Spain and Italy
 ( source : REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay )

Spain is set to face Croatia in the final of the UEFA Nations League 2023. La Furia Roja secured their spot in the pinnacle match after defeating Italy 2-1 in the semifinals at De Grolsch Veste Stadium in the early hours of Friday, WIB (June 16, 2023).

A late goal by Joselu in the second half sealed Spain's victory after an early lead through Yeremy Pino's goal. Italy managed to score only one goal from a penalty executed by Ciro Immobile.

Spain will meet Croatia, who previously defeated the Netherlands in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Italy will have to contend for the third-place spot against the Netherlands.

Spain immediately pressed Italy's defense from the start of the game. As a result, just three minutes into the match, they took the lead thanks to Pino's goal, capitalizing on their opponent's mistake.

However, Italy had a chance to equalize after the referee awarded a penalty for a handball committed by Robin Le Normand inside the box. Immobile successfully fulfilled his duty as the penalty taker, deceiving Unai Simon.

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Italy momentarily took the lead in the 21st minute through Davide Frattesi's goal. However, the referee disallowed it as the Sassuolo midfielder was already in an offside position. The score remained 1-1 until halftime.

Joselu's Header Decides Spain's Victory over Italy

Spain regained control of the ball more often in the second half. Mikel Merino came close to scoring the second goal, but Italy's goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, managed to save it.

Italy had their best opportunity in the 65th minute. Federico Dimarco's cross was attempted with a powerful header by Frattesi, but the ball still hit Unai Simon.

Spain's hard work paid off in the 88th minute. Rodri's shot deflected off an Italian player and fell to Joselu, who finished it off with a header.

With little time left, Italy struggled to find an equalizer. No more goals were scored, and the match ended with a 2-1 victory for Spain.

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Spain's Lineup vs Italy

Spain: Unai Simon; Jesus Navas, Robin Le Normand, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Rodri, Mikel Merino (Fabian Ruiz 74'); Rodrigo Moreno (Marco Asensio 46'), Gavi (Sergio Canales 68'), Yeremy Pino (Ansu Fati 74'); Alvaro Morata (Joselu 84').

Coach: Luis de la Fuente.

Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Rafael Toloi, Leonardo Bonucci (Matteo Darmian 46'), Francesco Acerbi; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Nicolo Barella, Jorginho (Bryan Cristante 61'), Davide Frattesi (Marco Verratti 76'), Leonardo Spinazzola (Federico Dimarco 46'); Nicolo Zaniolo, Ciro Immobile (Federico Chiesa 60').

Coach: Roberto Mancini.

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