Football Features

“The Boy King vs. The Beast” – Player ratings as Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties to make Euro 2020 final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:26, 6 July 2021

In a phenomenal night of football, Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties to advance to the final of Euro 2020.

This was easily the game of the tournament as these two heavyweights battled for the fourth-straight European Championships. Italy came in the favourites and were dominated throughout the game, but Spain’s shoddy finishing haunted them yet again and Italy held their nerve to win on penalties and return to the Euros final for the first time since 2012.

Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:


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Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6 – Some frankly shocking kicking was the lowlight of a fairly subpar performance. Spain’s shoddy finishing meant he wasn’t even really tested all that much until Morata sent him for his lunch on the goal. Gets a 6, however, because it was his quick-thinking and accurate throwing that began the move that led to Italy’s goal.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo – 8 – Defended very well down his flank to prevent Jordi Alba from gaining too much of an influence on the game.

Leonardo Bonucci – 8 – Really solid. Not quite as dominant as Chiellini, but an able sidekick as ever.

Giorgio Chiellini – 9 – A man mountain at the back. Was constantly getting his body in the way Spain passes and knockdowns and shots. It was always Chiellini in the way, and no Spaniard managed to get the better of him in a duel.

It was almost literally a perfect performance and he made up for his slight error on the Morata goal by basically psyching all of Spain out before the shootout with an affable demeanor that had an already nervous Jordi Alba look like he wanted the ground to swallow him up.

After his injury heartbreak in the Euro 2012 final, it feels like the purest Italian poetry that Chiellini has made it back to the big show in the twilight of his career. At 36 years-old, he has literally been playing professional football longer than Pedri has been alive.

This game felt like it should have been a changing of the guard, but Old Man Giorgio had no intention of giving up his chance at redemption and used every trick in his bag of dark arts to drag Italy into the final of Euro 2020. This was The Boy King vs. The Beast and the beast won! Forza Chiellini!

Emerson – 6 – Decent in attack, but he’s not Leonardo Spinazzola.

Jorginho – 8 – Completely neutralised by Pedri as an attacking force. Barely visible inside Spain’s half but madfe a massive 7 interceptions as he screened his defenders superbly. Was heading for a 7 but got a bump from his phenomenally brilliant penalty to win the shootout, effortlessly executing his hop technique and sliding the ball into the net as casually as anything.

Marco Verratti – 6 – Completely neutralised by Koke, Busquets and Pedri. Nowhere near as effective as he can be. Subbed off.

Nico Barella – 7 – Really positive

Federico Chiesa – 7 – Struggled to get into the game regularly but whenever he had the ball, he looked a real threat to Spain. And of course he had a massive impact when he scored a truly spectacular goal to give Italy a shock lead in the second-half. A brilliant talent.

Lorenzo Insigne – 5 – Completely cut off from his team-mates by Spain’s dominance.

Ciro Immobile – 6 – Ran Spain’s defence all over the place even if his use of the ball was mostly average. Albeit he did get an assist for Chiesa’s goal. Hard-working as ever.


Domenico Berardi (for Immobile 62′) – 6 – Was a genuine threat when he came on with his searing pace.

Matteo Pessina (for Verratti 74′) – 7 – Got stuck in.

Rafael Toloi (for Emerson 74′) – 7 – Defended his flank well

Manuel Locatelli (for Barella 85′) – 5 – Didn’t really do much in the game and missed his penalty in the shootout.

Andrea Belotti (for Insigne 85′) – 7 – Battled brilliantly for every single ball. Didn’t use it well but was a huge disruptive force on the Spanish passing game, especially after Busquets went off. Scored a stunning penalty in the shootout.

Federico Bernadeschi (for Chiesa 107′) – 6 – Came on late. Rattled in a magnificent penalty in the shootout.

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Unai Simon – 5 – Some of his kicking was extremely chaotic and he could have done better on Chiesa’s goal.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 7 – Defended well for the most part.

Eric Garcia – 7 – Generally solid but horrible 1-v-1 defending on Chiesa’s goal when he allowed the Italian to shoot with his right.

Aymeric Laporte – 8 – Really impressive bar a couple moments where his pace was tested. A rock at the hear of the Spanish back-line and he used the ball brilliantly too.

Jordi Alba – 7 – A constant attacking outlet down the left. Never really produced good delivery but he was at least good positionally.

Sergio Busquets – 9 – Absolutely awesome yet again from The Grandmaster. Ran the show from the middle of the pitch where he was just too evasive for the Italian press and his passing was too precise and pried the Italian midfield apart time and time again. The best player on the park and the heartbeat of Spain’s dominance, the game suffered for his absence.

Koke – 8 – Sensational defensive performance as he pressed the life out of Verratti to prevent Italy’s midfield from generating any momentum. A wonderful cross should have seen Oyarzabal score in the second-half.

Pedri – 9 – The Boy King was at it again. Resplendent in midfield, both in terms of pressing Jorginho to prevent him influencing the game but also with his progressive passing and dribbling. Proved so supremely elusive even as Italy tried to press him and carried on performing even as the match went the full 120 minutes. Didn’t misplace a single pass in 90 minutes (and just two were wayward at the end of extra-time) and one of those should have seen Oyzarabal score in the first-half. Pedri leaves Euro 2020 with his impeccable reputation in tact..

Mikel Oyarzabal – 4 – His movement was very nice and smart but the way he used the ball, in particular in the final third, was shocking. Had the two biggest chances of the game prior to Morata’s equaliser.

Ferran Torres – 6 – Lively, but nowhere near as effective as he should have been.

Dani Olmo – 8 – Had an excellent game bar some dodgy finishing. His movement bamboozled the Italian defenders and the way he moved the ball around and linked with his team-mates was sensational. Provided a wonderful assist for Morata’s goal but wrecked his 9 rating by blasting his penalty well over the bar when he had a chance to really put Italy under pressure following Locatelli’s miss.


Alvaro Morata (for Ferran 62′) – 7 – Posed much more of a threat than he did in the quarter-final. Scored a sensational strike to draw Italy level late in the day. Dribbled his penalty low into Donnarumma’s arms in the most predictable spot-kick of the shootout.

Gerard Moreno (for Oyarzabal 70′) – 6 – A few nice passes aside he carried none of the threat he used to for Villarreal.

Rodri (for Koke 70′) – 7 – Helped keep midfield ticking over nicely.

Marcos Llorente (for Azpilicueta 85′) – 6 – Added some much needed pace to the right flank.

Thiago (for Busquets 116′) – 4 – Absolutely horrible. Completely off the pace of the game and was just thwacking Gerrard-esque Hollywood passes all over the joint. Any chance Spain had of winning it late on left when he came on to replace Busquets. His ice cool penalty in the shootout felt almost insult given how bad he was in the first game.

Pau Torres (for Garcia 109′) – n/a – Came on late.