Italy’s excellent win over Belgium may not have been enough to help them qualify for the knockout round, as the Azzurrini now must await the results of Romania, France, Austria and Denmark to find out their chances of making it through to the next round.
Meanwhile, Spain qualified for the knockout round in emphatic fashion after they defeated Poland 5-0. It was a disappointing end to the tournament for Poland, who had won both of their group stage games prior to facing Spain.
Spain will now face one of Germany, Denmark, Austria, France or Romania on 27 June, While Italy will have to rely on the fixtures going their way if they are to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Belgium 1-3 Italy
The Azzurrini should have been ahead after just seven minutes but a poor Nicolò Barella header, who missed just yards from goal, meant the game stayed 0-0 for much of the first half.
Italy dominated throughout and easily had the most shots on goal. They took a much-deserved lead just before half-time courtesy of a Barella strike, making up for his mistake earlier in the half.
Italy started the second half strongly and went 2-0 up after 53 minutes, when Giuseppe Pezzella’s cross met the head of Milan striker Patrick Cutrone, who squared the ball into the far corner.
The Azzurrini continued to dominate with Manuel Locatelli and Rolando Mandragora coming close before Belgium’s Yari Verschaeren scored a spectacular goal from outside the box just 12 minutes from time, giving the Red Devils a fighting chance.
Italy capped off their impressive performance with a strike from Federico Chiesa in the 89th minute, but not before a VAR check which judged the goal to be onside.
It was a night to forget for the Belgians and this was compounded with an Isaac Mbenza red card in the 90th minute. The Huddersfield forward was given his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card just 19 minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Spain 5-0 Poland
Luis de la Fuente’s side had a flurry of chances during the first 15 minutes. Dinamo Zagreb winger Dani Olmo came close after 11 minutes, his rocket prompting a great save from Poland goalkeeper Kamil Grabara.
It was up to midfielder Pablo Fornals to break the deadlock. A pass from Aarón Martín prompted the new West Ham midfielder to stretch his right leg to put the ball in the back of the net after 17 minutes.
Spain continued to control the game. Napoli midfielder Fabián Ruiz came close after 34 minutes, hitting the woodwork before Mikel Oyarzabal put La Rojita up 2-0 just seconds later.
Ruiz got a well-earned goal just four minutes later, thumping the ball home to give Spain a 3-0 lead going into the break.
Not complacent with the three-goal lead, Spain kept Poland goalkeeper Grabara busy throughout the second half, prompting more impressive saves. Oyarzabal suffered an injury after 54 minutes and had to be stretchered off.
Dani Ceballos extended Spain’s lead after 70 minutes after his free-kick found the top corner, putting the game well and truly to bed. Borja Mayoral added to Poland’s misery just one minute from time, his strike easily beating a visibly defeated Grabara.