Italy vs Spain: Leonardo Bonucci warns Azzurri’s ‘flawless’ run to Euro semis counts for nothing at Wembley

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Leonardo Bonucci says Italy’s “flawless” run to the semi-finals will count for nothing when they meet Spain at Wembley tonight.

Roberto Mancini’s side are unbeaten at Euro 2020 and, despite being taken to extra-time by Austria in the last-16, have steadily cemented themselves as favourites to win a second European Championship.

Spain were taken to extra-time in both of their knockout games, requiring penalties to beat Switzerland in the last eight.

Bonucci, however, is wary of labelling the Azzurri favourites.

“When it’s Italy and Spain in the European Championship semi-final, there’s no such thing as a favourite,” said Bonucci.

“Yes, we have had a flawless runs thus far, but even though Spain have faced some issues, that doesn’t matter. We need to put that to one side and we really need to focus on what we need to do, where we need to improve.

“We simply need to be motivated by the fact we’re coming up against such a great prestigious side in such a wonderful arena such as Wembley in the knowledge that we could be involved in the final in a few days.”

Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri will come into Mancini’s side after Italy lost Leonardo Spinazzola to a tournament-ending injury against Belgium in the quarter-finals.

The left-back, a standout performer this summer, had surgery on his Achilles tendon in Finland yesterday and is inspiring his team-mates.

“We want to dedicate the final, if we make it that far, to Leonardo Spinazzola,” said Bonucci.

“Because it really was a tough blow to lose him to injury, but he has also shown great strength to us. After his surgery he has shown that he wants us to make it all the way and we owe it to him to do that.”

There are concerns as to whether Bonucci’s long-term partner at the back, 36-year-old Giorgio Chiellini, is capable of playing three games in such quick succession should Italy make it through.

Chiellini missed two matches with a thigh injury before returning against Belgium, but Mancini is not worried.

“Whether Giorgio is able to withstand three matches, we hope so,” said Mancini.

“If he were not able to play we’ve got Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni, who are in good form themselves. We hope that everyone is fit and firing.”

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