Italy are in consecutive World Cup Finals for the first time in their history after a 2-0 win in Moscow this evening, the first time that Argentina have ever lost a World Cup semi-final. A goal in each half will see Italy return to the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday to meet Spain in the ninth all-European final.
Both sides lost a man to a second yellow card in their quarter-final wins, and Gary Medel’s suspension forced the only change for Argentina who brought in Julián Velázquez. Two changes for Italy: Gianluca Caprari took Sebastian Giovinco’s spot up-top, while Andrea Poli came in for the suspended Antonio Nocerino.
Argentina had the best chance in the opening exchanges and were unfortunate not to be ahead in the 18th minute when Lucas Ocampos headed wide at the far post from the edge of the six-yard box from a deep cross by Veláquez. His miss was made worse ten minutes later when Italy took the lead.
Poli shadowed Sergio Agüero down the Argentinian left, before showing him outside and winning the ball, quickly getting it up-field to Caprari. He found Alessandro Florenzi who hit the goal line before sending a ball across the six-yard box for Giuseppe Rossi to slot home at the far post to open the scoring.
Italy had a chance to go into the break two-up when they caught Argentina on a counter in the final minute of the first-half. As they broke forwards, Silvestre’s challenge on Florenzi only played the ball into the path of Forestieri who beat Velázquez for pace but hit the post when one-on-one with Sergio Romero.
Within three minutes of the interval, they had the second to seal it. Marco Faraoni got away from Marcos Rojo down the right and whipped a low ball into the near post where Gianluca Caprari flicked it goalwards and past the outstretched arm of Romero. Italy saw the game out and go through to Sunday’s final against Spain, six years after they met in the Euro 2012 Final.
Argentina will play Brazil for 3rd on Saturday in St Petersburg. In qualifying for Russia, Brazil won 2-1 in Buenos Aires back in November 2015 while Argentina won the return fixture 2-0 in São Paulo in January last year.
FIFA WORLD CUP: SEMI-FINAL ITALY 2-0 ARGENTINA Rossi 28 Caprari 48 Astori Zuculini Marchisio Silvestre Faraoni Gamboa