Italy are one step away from a remarkable Euro 2020 triumph after defeating Spain in the pressure cooker of a penalty shootout, but a moment between Italian captain Giorgo Chiellini and Spanish star Jordi Alba has left the sport world swooning.
The semi-final match between the European footballing giants lived up to its billing with Spain putting on arguably their best passing performance of the tournament to peg the Italians back at Wembley for the majority of the game.
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But, completely against the run of play, Frederico Chiesa scored a wonder 'snatch and grab' goal to send the Italians at Wembley into euphoria.
Unfortunately for Italy, Spain equalised through substitute Alvaro Morata.
Extra-time was filled with dramatic moments, but the inevitable occurred as both Italy and Spain were level after 120 minutes of pulsating football.
What is considered the crucible of pressure in football, penalties would decide who would advance to the Euro 2020 final.
The two captains were called up to decide at which end (in front of which fan base) the penalties would take place and who would go first.
Chiellini and Alba share 'lovely' moment at Euro 2020
But in heartwarming scenes, Italian captain Chiellini appeared to drop any harboured nerves and was seen joking around with rival interim captain Alba.
Chiellini was seen jokingly punching Alba, hugging him and sharing a laugh.
Many fans joked Chiellini had lost his mind, considering how calm he was before such a tense moment, while others joked it was a cold-blooded psyche out.
Yet many fans around the world pointed out the scenes showed the essence of football and what the 'beautiful' game is all about.
HAHAHAH Lovely scenes between Chiellini and Jordi Alba there 😅😅 #EURO2020
— André Noruega (@AndreOstgaard) July 6, 2021
I thought Chiellini laughing and joking his way through the penalty shootout coin flip was cold-blooded enough, but Jorginho hitting the hop-step penalty and stroking the calm low roller to the right side without breaking a sweat was even MORE cold-blooded.
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 6, 2021
imagine being on a dance floor near chiellini when mr brightside comes on pic.twitter.com/g4HWnPJUjy
— Jonno Turner (@jonnot) July 6, 2021
— Joshie (@Joshiee48) July 6, 2021
Chiellini red card for punching Alba surely 👀 #ItsComingHome
— Luke Ayling (@lukeayling_8) July 6, 2021
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) July 6, 2021
Humanly incredible: Under the crucible of pressure ahead of a Penalty Shoot-Out, Giorgio Chiellini is just a boss. A 36-year old who still loves the game of football with as much passion as when he was a tiny kid pic.twitter.com/lYrENZ1PVw
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 6, 2021
Chiellini is just a boss. a total boss. During the coin toss ahead of the shoot out, he slapped his opponent twice on the face while grinning, then lifting him up in the air. A 36-year old who still loves the game of football with as much passion as when he was a tiny kid
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 6, 2021
Roy Keane currently flipping tables right now after seen Chilleni and Alba laughing at the coin toss and the two keepers hugging before this penalty shoot out 😂😂 #EURO2020
— Lee (@Red_ArmyMUFC) July 6, 2021
I just love how Italy and Spain gave it their all on the field but they’re still laughing and smiling with the other team during the game #EURO2020
we could always use more of that
— Bernadette Berdychowski (@bberdychowski) July 6, 2021
Italy and Spain have collided four times at major tournaments in recent memory.
The scenes were reminiscent of the close bond former captains Iker Casillas and Gigi Buffon shared as they embraced before two penalty shootouts between the teams.
Legendary keeper Casillas tweeted his friend Buffon after being reminded about their past encounters as he watched Spain fall.
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) July 6, 2021
In the end, it was Chiellini who had the final laugh.
Spain and Italy both missed their first attempts, before Morata went from hero to zero as a tame effort was saved from Donnarumma.
And in a moment described as 'ice cold' Chelsea midfielder Jorginho stepped up, stuttered, hopped and sent Simon the wrong way to send Wembley into raptures.
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