Italy's record run ended by 2-1 Nations League loss to Spain
''We've been playing well for a while now. We are a young team playing well and I think this victory is another step,'' said Torres, who came off four minutes into the second half after picking up a knock but said he would be fit to play Sunday's final against either world champion France or top-ranked Belgium. ''Victory over Italy in Italy. Now we'll start thinking about the final.'' Lorenzo Pellegrini pulled one back for Italy late on as the Azzurri threatened an improbable comeback. In the end, though, Mancini's side fell to its first loss in more than three years, since being beaten by Portugal in September 2018. Its unbeaten streak was a world record in international soccer.
''It (defeat) would have come eventually. And better tonight than the final of the Euros or a World Cup final,'' Mancini said. ''But this game will give us more strength despite the defeat and help us realize that we are a great squad." In Milan, Italy was in the hunt for more silverware while Spain was looking for revenge after losing to the Azzurri on penalties in the Euro 2020 semifinals.
Barcelona teenager Gavi Páez started, making the 17-year-old the youngest player to make his Spain debut. Gavi, who only made his first-team debut for Barcelona a month ago, broke the national record set by Ángel Zubieta in 1936.
The match in front of a passionate, sell-out crowd of 37,000 at the San Siro was played with a high tempo from the start, with chances coming at both ends.
Spain had been probing that left flank and it provided the opener in the 17th minute as Oyarzabal's cross from the left was volleyed into the bottom right corner by Torres.
Spain almost immediately doubled its lead as Gianluigi Donnarumma fumbled Marcos Alonso's shot, and the ball came out of his hands and off the left post before Bonucci managed to clear the rebound off the line.
It was a rare mistake from the Italy goalkeeper, who was voted the player of the tournament at Euro 2020. But his every touch was getting loudly booed by the majority of the Italian fans at San Siro, which is also the home of AC Milan — the club Donnarumma left in the offseason on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
''We were disappointed because Italy was playing, it wasn't a club match," Mancini said. "It could have been put to one side for once and jeer if Milan plays PSG. Italy is Italy and it comes above everything." Italy had chances to level the match and its best opportunity came 10 minutes from halftime as first Federico Bernardeschi's shot was turned onto the post by Simón before an unmarked Lorenzo Insigne turned Emerson's cross wide from a great position.
Italy's chances then took a blow just before the break as Bonucci was shown a second yellow card for jumping with his elbow raised on Sergio Busquets. The Italy captain had received the first booking on the half-hour, for dissent.
Spain immediately made the extra man count as it doubled its lead on the stroke of halftime, with a very similar goal to its opener. This time Torres headed Oyarzabal's cross from the left-back across goal and into the bottom left corner.
Oyarzabal almost got on the scoresheet himself in the 63rd but he headed a cross from Yeremy Pino wide of the post.
Donnarumma also saved a low shot from Alonso before Italy pulled one back seven minutes from time. Chiesa sprinted forward from inside his half to the penalty area, drew Simón, and then unselfishly rolled across for Pellegrini to tap into an empty net.
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