Spain sauntered into the final of the Nations League, a fine first-half performance that featured a brace for Ferran Torres and a red card for Leonardo Bonucci ending Italy’s world-record unbeaten run at 37 games.
Spain now play France or Belgium in Sunday’s final.
Though Italy were favourites and with good reason, Spain took control of the game in its early stages, ransacking the right side of the home team’s defence.
On 17 minutes, Mikel Oyarzabal crossed beautifully and Ferran Torres finished in similar style, then did likewise in first-half injury-time as did Torres. In between times, Bonucci was booked twice, first for dissent then for leaping into a challenge with Sergio Busquets, forearm and elbow cocked.
Playing Spain, in a semi-final, two goals and a man down, sounds like one of the very most miserable ways to spend 45 minutes and sure enough, Spain spent the second half passing the ball and Italy spent the second half chasing the ball.
Both sides had chances but Spain had more and were dominant, only for Lorenzo Pellegrini to round off a counter, tapping home an 83rd-minute livener. But Spain saw out the remaining time well enough and are back if ever they were away. It’ll take a serious performance to beat them.