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Leonardo Spinazzola has been one of the breakout stars of EURO 2020 through Italy’s first five games, but the Azzurri left back’s tournament is likely over after he suffered a torn achilles in the 2-1 quarterfinal win over Belgium on Friday, according to a report from Sky Sport Italia.
[ MORE: 3 things we learned from Belgium – Italy ]
The injury occurred late in the second half and Spinazzola was subsequently stretchered off the field in Munich after writhing on the ground in what appeared to be a great deal of pain.
It was Spinazzola’s uniquely “un-Italian” tendency to race up and down the left flank and join the attack which has helped to unlock a new style of play under manager Roberto Mancini at EURO 2020. Gone are the days of sitting deep to soak up pressure and defend for 90 minutes, as Italy have undeniably been one of the best stories — and attacking joys — to watch at EURO 2020.
Spinazzola even made a vitally important goal-line clearance to deny Romelu Lukaku a surefire equalizer in the second half, with Italy clinging to their 2-1 lead and Belgium ascending quickly. Simply put, his performances have been nothing short of an absolute joy to witness and the rest of EURO 2020 will be worse off without him.
At 28 years old and a recovery of up to 12 months suddenly in front of him — and the 2022 World Cup just 18 months away — Spinazzola now faces a race against time to continue his international career. Chelsea left back Emerson replaced Spinazzola on Friday and will likely start in his place against Spain.
Spinazzola’s injury is also a blow for Roma, and new manager Jose Mourinho, after he was comfortably one of the side’s few consistent performers in the recently completed Serie A season, in which Roma finished 7th.
Italy are headed to the semifinals of EURO 2020, where they’ll face Spain in a mouth-watering clash of European giants at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday (3 pm ET), and it’s a shame of epic proportions that Spinazzola won’t be taking the field with them, and likely won’t be with his teammates for the grand occasion.
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Report: Italy’s Spinazzola suffers torn achilles in win over Belgium originally appeared on NBCSports.com