Mancini and faith hold back Alaba

Italy needed the extension. They marked two substitutes: Chiesa and Pessina. Kalajdzic put emotion at the end. They will face the winner of Belgium-Portugal.


Italy wins again, and that is not news. He did it for the twelfth time in a row and adding 31 games without losing, the best record in his entire history. The great novelty is that this Italy also knows how to triumph by suffering, in the old style. Austria was heroic and deserved to get to extra time, but there they fell to the quality of Mancini's revulsives, who won a place to the quarterfinals much more complicated than expected.

The aggressiveness of the Austrians was immediately confirmed. The first to attack were those of Foda with a great arrival from Baumgartner, whose low center scared Azzurra, who with the passage of minutes took the reins of the game, but without the usual efficiency. The wall formed by the midfielders Grillitsch and Schlager with the centrals Dragovic and Hinteregger, granted very little space to those of Mancini, who touched the ball without finding gaps almost never. His most effective weapon was once again the arrivals of Spinazzola, which created a great opportunity for Barella, whose shot was neutralized with the foot by Bachmann. In the absence of solutions, Immobile tried to break the game from afar, and his shot from outside the area, which hit the crossbar, represented the best that Italy showed before the break.

In the second half, for the first time, the limits of the Nazionale appeared, especially mental ones. The fear of losing everything detracted from the Italians, who began to lose their minds. Easy passes failed, protests arose when it made no sense and, overwhelmed as ever, they gave more and more space to Foda's men, who did not take advantage of it for a matter of centimeters. On 65 ', Arnautovic headed a cross combed by Alaba into the net and celebrated the goal by silencing the rival fans. After a lengthy review of the play, however, the VAR canceled their joy for offside. It was the best moment for Austria, who had already touched the goal with a foul by Alaba and, shortly after, also requested a penalty for a grab by Pessina to Lainer (another play canceled due to an illegal position). Left behind the scares and suffering, Italy returned mainly thanks to its revulsives. Locatelli, Pessina, Chiesa and Belotti calmed the medullary and woke up the lead.

La Azzurra reached 90 'closing the rival in his area and Berardi, with a scissors without aim, wasted the winning goal. The Italians began overtime with the momentum that was lacking throughout the game and opened the can. A Spinazzola already in Fabio Grosso 2006 version, unstoppable and decisive, found Federico Chiesa with a cross, who controlled the ball with his head and struck down Bachmann. Then, in addition, Mancini's men lengthened their advantage with Pessina, who ended a collective move from Acerbi. Everything seemed headed for the tricolore party, but Kalajdzic, with a great header on the plate in 116 ', broke Donnarumma's unbeaten record (the Azzurra had not conceded goals for more than 1143 minutes, another record) and also gave emotion to the last minutes of this unforgettable game. Italy, this time, did not break down: it had not suffered for a long time, but apparently it already learned how to do it. For Mancini this is huge news. None of the four stars that the Nazionale bears on its shield was sewn without suffering.

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