UEFA Nations League Bracket Completed
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Spain To Face France In Final
This year's semi-finals featured some titans of European football as Italy faced Spain and Belgium took on France. Read on to find out how things played out.
Italy vs Spain
Spain has ended European champions Italy's incredible undefeated streak. A Ferran Torres brace and a Leo Bonnucci red card saw the Azzurri eliminated from the UEFA Nations League at the semi-final stage.
The 37-match undefeated streak - that lasted a time span of more than 3 years - was ended unceremoniously by the side they defeated in last summer's Euro Championships, Spain. Spain had taken an early lead and it was an evenly balanced first half.
That was until Italian captain Leo Bonnucci received his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card. Ferran Torres buried his second for the game just before the halftime whistle blew and the San Siro was stunned.
Spain predictably dominated proceedings in the second half and had chance after chance to end the tie as a contest. Italy refused to go down without a fight however and in the 83rd minute, Lorenzo Pellegrini gave the Italians hope for an unlikely comeback. His goal came from a counterattack following a Spanish corner. It made for an exciting finish, but it wasn't to be as Spain exacted revenge for their semi-final defeat at Euro 2020 and booked their spot in the final.
After 37 games undefeated as Italy boss, a philosophical Roberto Mancini had this to say post-match:
"It would have come eventually. And better tonight than the final of the Euros or a World Cup final, but this game will give us more strength despite the defeat and help us realize that we are really a great squad.”
Belgium vs France
In the other semi-final, it was a goal fest as Belgium hosted the star-studded French side for the chance to face Spain in the final.
Belgium dominated the first half of the proceedings. It was some tremendous goalkeeping from French number one Hugo Lloris that kept the French in the game as he repelled a Kevin De Bruyne chance particularly that was a spectacular piece of goalkeeping.
He couldn't keep it up though and in the 37th minute, he was beaten at his near post by a clever finish from Yannick Carrasco. Not five minutes later, world-class striker Romelu Lukaku doubled their advantage, and Die Roten Teufel was cruising. A place in the final was all but assured.
Then the second half happened.
It was around the hour mark when the French got a foothold in the game. Kylian Mbappe danced around Youri Tielemans and set up Karim Benzema who made no mistake. Les Bleus had cut Belgium's lead in half and was looking ominous.
Tielemans nightmare continued when he fouled Antoine Griezmann to give away a penalty. Mbappe stepped up and expelled his demons from Euro 2020 smashing past Thibaut Courtois and equalizing for France from the penalty spot. the comeback was complete when Theo Hernandez hit a beauty of a shot from outside the box in the final seconds of normal time to set up a mouthwatering final against Spain.
France head coach Didier Deschamps had this to say about his sides incredible comeback post-match:
"It's one of the best because of how it unfolded, because of the quality of our opponents, despite the adversity we had the pride and the character to turn it around. It is a great, great moment."
The final of the UEFA Nations League will take place at the San Siro on Sunday night at 8.45 pm CET and we will have all the latest from it right here at thepyrrhic.com
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