Bonucci: ‘Toughest game I’ve ever played’

by | Jul 6, 2021 23:08

Leonardo Bonucci confessed the 1-1 extra time UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final with Spain was ‘the toughest game I have ever played,’ but Italy are ‘one centimetre away’ from the trophy.

It was 1-1 after 90 minutes with goals from Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata, but in the shoot-out Manuel Locatelli and Morata saw their efforts saved, while Dani Olmo blasted over the bar.

“This is the toughest game I have ever played. I congratulate Spain for what they showed, but once again this Italy showed heart, determination and the ability to push through difficult moments and the lottery of penalties rewarded us,” Bonucci told RAI Sport.

“The victory you suffer for is always the most enjoyable one.”

Spain shocked the Azzurri with their initial line-up, leaving Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno on the bench to use Ferran Torres as a False 9.

“We knew they could try a few surprises, as Luis Enrique has done that a few times in his career. They moved around a lot upfront and didn’t give us reference points, but we brought home an historic result with the heart of the Italians,” continued Bonucci.

The Nazionale will face either England or Denmark in the EURO 2020 Final on Sunday, again at Wembley Stadium, where they were supported by a huge local community of Italians.

“Now there’s one more centimetre to go. Just one more centimetre…. It’s incredible what we are doing, we mustn’t feel sated. We’re in the Final, it is in five days, and we need the same hunger and spirit of sacrifice to bring this trophy home after many years.”

Italy only won the Euros once before, in 1968, but also reached the Final in 2000 and 2012.

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