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Euro U21s Review: Spain book semi-final spot, Italy face nervous wait

By Opta
Spains Dani Ceballos celebrates after scoring a superb free-kick

Rome, June 23: Spain booked their place in the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship after blowing away Poland 5-0, while Italy must wait to see if they are the best runners-up after a 3-2 win over Belgium.

Luis de la Fuente Castillo's Spain went into the game at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara knowing a 3-0 win would be good enough to see them progress regardless of Italy's result and they did not waste any time forging ahead.

A stretching Pablo Fornals steered Aaron Martin's low cross from the left past Kamil Grabara in the 17th minute Mikel Oyarzabal doubled their advantage 10 minutes before the interval with a deflected effort.

They made it three four minutes later when Fabian Ruiz – who had earlier hit the woodwork twice – curled home from 25 yards.

Dani Ceballos got in on the act after 71 minutes with a superb free-kick, while Borja Mayoral added gloss to the scoreline in the 90th minute, the substitute drilling into the bottom corner from Dani Olmo's low ball into the penalty area.

Italy, meanwhile, have given themselves a chance of joining Spain in the last four but must wait for the results of the remaining fixtures from the other two groups.

Nicolo Barella set them on their way in Reggio Emilia on the stroke of half-time, firing home after his initial shot had been repelled by Ortwin De Wolf.

That lead was doubled eight minutes into the second half when Patrick Cutrone superbly headed in Lorenzo Pellegrini's right-wing cross.

Belgium reduced the deficit 11 minutes from time through Yari Verschaeren's wonderful strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Federico Chiesa restored Italy's two-goal advantage in the 89th minute with a cool finish, while Belgium's Isaac Mbenza received his marching orders in stoppage time after receiving a second yellow card.

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Story first published: Sunday, June 23, 2019, 3:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 23, 2019
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