European champions Italy suffered a rare defeat after they were beaten by Spain in the last four of the UEFA Nations League. The defeat ended their 37-game unbeaten run which is a record as far as international football is concerned.
The Italians had home advantage but they were unable to use it to see off Spanish senior national team manager Luis Enrique and his players. Ex-Barcelona and AS Roma boss Luis Enrique didn’t start the game with a specialist striker but that didn’t stop his team from beating the Italians to secure a place in the final.
He started Ferran Torres as his lone striker and the decision paid off as the Manchester City star scored a first half brace to lead his country to an impressive 2-1 win over the Italians.
Ferran Torresand Mikel Oyarzabal combined for both Spain goals in the first half. In the 17th minute, Torres got on the end of a cross from Real Sociedad attacker Oyarzabal to give Spain the lead and he added a second goal via a header from another cross from Oyarzabal shortly after Italy were reduced to ten men.
Italy had a man sent off three minutes from the half-time interval after skipper Leonardo Bonucci was penalised for a foul on Spanish captain Sergio Busquets. The foul on Barcelona star Busquets earned Bonucci a second yellow card and early bath. Bonucci had been booked for dissent earlier in the half.
AS Roma player Lorenzo Pellegrini came off the bench to finish off a counterattack from Italy on 83 minutes but the midfielder and his colleagues could not scored the second goal that would have taken the game into extra time as Spain held on to their slender advantage to seal a final meeting with world champions France at the start of next week.