Leonardo Spinazzola has been one of the many revelations of the tournament. He has displayed some phenomenal wing play down the left-hand side for Italy and has been an excellent attacking outlet for the Azzurri.
The 28-year-old has been one of the best left backs in the tournament and was attracting interest from clubs all around Europe courtesy of his fine performances for Italy. He was a constant threat in all the matches so far and has recorded 1 assist for his efforts.
Spinazzola suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the fag end of Italy’s match against Belgium. Italy ended up winning the game 2-1 and are deservedly through to the semi-finals. However, they will have to take field without one of their players of the tournament. Spinazzola’s attacking threat was slightly muffled due to Belgium’s attacking potency but he made a goal line block in the second half to deny Lukaku from scoring a potential equaliser.
Leonardo Spinazzola will be a huge miss for Italy in the semi-finals. He is expected to be replaced by Emerson as he was brought on during the final knockings against Belgium.
“Unfortunately, we know how it’s gone, but our Azzurro dream continues and this is a great opportunity to show that nothing is impossible,” Spinazzola wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “I can only tell you that I will be back soon! I am certain!”
Despite leading Italy to a first major tournament semifinal since 2012, manager Roberto Mancini said after the match he was “sad” following Spinazzola’s injury.
“Ole, ole, ole, Spina! Spina!” the Azzurri players sang to their injured teammate, some banging on the overhead lockers to keep the beat.
“It’s a big loss for us,” said Lorenzo Insigne, who scored Italy’s second goal on Friday. “It’s very sad to see and we’re all trying to get behind him.”
Italy will face Spain in the first semi-final at Wembley on Tuesday. The Italians start the match as favourites but will have to be wary of Spain’s midfield who hold the ability of dominating the middle of the park.