Álvaro Morata, deserved hero and unexpected villain.
Heads and tails in a night that will be remembered for an undeserved elimination for Spain and celebrated by Italy that already has 33 games without knowing defeat.
Wembley enjoyed an outstanding Semifinal in which fortune ended up smiling at the team that least deserved it, but football, you know, many times does not know about merits.
“Morata and 10 more,” replied Luis Enrique after the scoreless draw against Sweden on the first day of the group stage.
Morata was mercilessly singled out by critics for his lack of success before the goal and attacked with even more cruelty on social media, but responded to the confidence of his coach.
Solvent in his game, associative, unruly and key, he remained in the starting eleven and scored against Poland, repeated against Croatia and catapulted himself as one of the keys to Spain until in the Semifinal, the coach decided to play without a “9 ”Fixed against Italy.
Morata accepted his supporting role convinced that the moment would come and it happened. He took the field to reverse the 1-0 of Federico Chiesa that put Italy in front and responded, again.
Decked out in the hero dress after the goal that he scored to tie the Semifinal, Morata proved to be ready for any challenge. He became one of the best men on the field in that titanic fight that led to the battle at Wembley and did not hesitate to sign up for the penalty shootout.
And there, in sudden death, at the decisive moment, Morata failed.
Maximum cruelty, final penalty. It was his mistake that condemned a capital Spain.
Curiously, who had previously been the best player of the match, Dani Olmo, was the first to miss his shot, the first of the batch and that extinguished the euphoria after Unai Simon’s save against Manuel Locatelli, but already after Jorginho sentenced the Italian triumph, it was the figure of the Juventus striker who was marked.
Hero and villain in a night to remember that he showed that Spain has a bright future and that Morata, in the first person, should not go down in history as the culprit of an elimination that Luis Enrique’s team did not deserve.
The revenge of Euro 2008 was claimed by Italy after 13 years in a match that Spain should never have lost.
If in 2016, in the Eighth Finals of the same tournament, the Azzurra invoiced a sad Spain with the flavor of farewell, in this 2021 it left out of the Final a team that fell with as much cruelty as greatness and that showed that it has a future bright ahead.
Suddenly a dominating Spain woke up from the dream and at times superb in its game. Under the baton of Sergio Busquets as an anchor and with an outstanding Dani Olmo, supported by a cheeky Pedri and accompanied by a group that for many minutes physically passed over an Italy that saw them and wished to resist the burden to which it was subjected the team that, invented by Luis Enrique, left Wembley with as much pain as dignity.
The penalty shootout that favored Spain in the Quarterfinals against Switzerland, condemned him in a Semifinal that will remain for posterity.
Spain was better, played probably their best high-stakes match at the Euro, but had to kneel in the end.
Luis Enrique has created a team without stars and with enthusiasm. A magnificent group called to give something to talk about in the immediate future, even if the present is a sad farewell to the European Championship.
Italy, dominated and overwhelmed, is still a lot of Italy and clinging to the limit, survived everything to take the prize on penalties, there, where Álvaro Morata went, without deserving it, from hero to villain.