Italy was undefeated in the group stage of the 2021 European Championship and advanced past the round of 16 on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Austria. Italy was always favored to get the result because of its explosive offense but couldn’t make the net bulge for more than 90 minutes because of stingy defense from the underdogs.
Both teams were held scoreless in regulation but Italy came out with plenty of pace and creativity. Austria was put on its heels early but bounced back to put up an impressive fight. Italy held its breath when Marko Arnautovic appeared to have scored a potential winner toward the end of the first half with a header, but a lengthy review resulted in the goal being disallowed for offsides.
From having a goal disallowed by this to losing by two in extra time. Football is a heartless game. pic.twitter.com/fnGKA10BAE— Zito (@_Zeets) June 26, 2021
Italy’s breathe of relief came when Federico Chiesa netted the first goal in the 95th minute. The 23-year-old wing received a ball on the back post and lifted the ball above a defender's leg before sending the ball into the side netting with his left foot. Matteo Pessina followed that goal up in the 105th minute, just before the first half of extra time came to an end.
Italy was comfortable down the stretch in extra time but became flustered when Sasa Kalajdzic headed in a corner in the 114th minute. Austria tried its best to equalize in the final six minutes but didn’t have enough time to produce another shot on goal.
Italy's streak of shutouts has come to an end, but it has extended its unbeaten streak to 31 games. The Italians will face the winner of Sunday’s Belgium-Portugal matchup.