Italy emerged victorious against Belgium in their 2020 European Championship quarter-final clash at the Allianz Arena on Friday.
Goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne meant Italy would join Spain in the last four of EURO 2020, as Romelu Lukaku’s goal from the spot proved to be a mere consolation.
Despite it being a successful night in Munich for the Azzurri, they suffered a major blow when Leonardo Spinazzola got injured and had to be taken off in the second half.
Spinazzola had been one of Italy’s standout performers in the tournament so far, excelling at left-back in the group stage matches and against Austria in the Round of 16.
The right-footed left-back had also held his own against a very talented right flank for Belgium, against one of the best players in the world in Kevin De Bruyne.
But Spinazzola’s afternoon ended rather miserably when he injured himself in his attempt to chase down a long ball. Spinazzola pulled up with pain etched all over his face and immediately signalled to the Italian bench for a substitution to be made.
After receiving treatment on the pitch, a tearful Spinazzola had to be loaded onto a stretcher and taken off the pitch. Following the match, Sky Italy reported Spinazzola had ruptured his Achilles tendon, which could keep him out for the better part of a year—meaning the fullback will certainly miss Italy’s semi-final date with Spain and a potential final too.
While the Italian players celebrated their progress into the last four, they showed their support for the injured fullback and their indomitable team spirit with a full-fledged chorus of his name in the team bus.
Chants of “Ole, ole, ole, ole, Spina, Spina” reverberated around the Italy team bus as a show of support for the 28-year-old, and the Azzurri – who look more and more like a well-gelled unit rather than just a group of players with every passing game – will want to win the trophy in honour of their injured teammate.
The Azzurri cheering for Spinazzola on the bus after he tore his Achilles today— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) July 2, 2021
This group is phenomenal. All for one, one for all pic.twitter.com/sCnDekYY9r