The last time Austria was in the knockout stage of a major tournament was in the 1954 World Cup where they reached the semi-finals while Italy who failed to reach the 2018 World Cup was the finalist of the Euros in 2012.
Italy almost took the lead in the 16th minute when Leonardo Spinazzola crossed it to Nicolò Barella, who shot with his outside foot. The attempt was saved by the Austria goalkeeper as he put his right foot out.
Marko Arnautović could have given Austria a surprise lead in the 18th minute when a pass over the top of the defence allowed him to run at goal and take a shot, but it went way over the bar.
Past the half-hour mark, Ciro Immobile’s audacious shot from outside the box hit the outside of the top corner of the bar, leaving the goalkeeper powerless as the ball went out.
The first half ended with Italy dominating the statistics, but Austria had questions that needed to be answered.
Arnautović believed he gave Austria the lead in the 64th minute but it was ruled offside after VAR intervention.
The second half ended goalless which meant extra time but since the break, Italy’s intensity dropped while Austria’s disallowed goal could have meant Italy crashing out early.
Fortunately for Italy, they found the breakthrough in the 5th minute of extra time when Spinazzola found Federico Chiesa free at the back post who then controlled the ball with composure and got past the goalkeeper into the net.
Lorenzo Insigne could have doubled the Italian score line in the 14th minute of extra time with a free kick but it was saved nicely by Daniel Bachmann.
However, a minute later, another Italian substitute, Matteo Pessina, scored the second goal of the night practically sealing Italy’s spot in the quarter finals.
In the second half of extra time, Austria found a way to score which ended Italy’s impressive run without conceding a goal in the Euros when Sasa Kalajdzic scored a header from a corner in the 24th minute of extra time.
It was too late to make a difference and Italy managed to hang on to qualify while Austria is sent home after a valiant end.
Source of Image: UEFA EURO 2020 via Twitter