Leonardo Bonucci described Italy’s Euro 2020 semi-final win against Spain as the “toughest game” of his career and urged his team-mates to complete the job by lifting the trophy.
The Azzurri beat Spain 4-2 on penalties in a gripping contest at Wembley on Tuesday that finished 1-1 at the end of extra time.
Alvaro Morata was introduced from the bench to cancel out Federico Chiesa’s brilliant opener 10 minutes from time, but the striker’s miss proved crucial in the shoot-out.
Jorginho was left to roll in the winning spot-kick as Italy booked their third final appearance in the competition since last going all the way in 1968.
That remains the four-time world champions’ only continental triumph and veteran defender Bonucci is eager to put an end to that 53-year wait against England or Denmark.
“This is the toughest game I have ever played,” Bonucci, who equalled Gianluigi Buffon’s Italian record of 17 European Championship appearances, told RAI Sport.
“I congratulate Spain for what they showed, but once again this Italy showed heart, determination, and the ability to push through difficult moments.
“The victory you suffer for is always the most enjoyable one.
“Now there’s one more centimetre to go. Just one more centimetre. It’s incredible what we are doing, but we mustn’t feel satisfied.
“We’re in the final, it’s in five days, and we need the same hunger and spirit of sacrifice to bring this trophy home after many years.”
Italy will be competing in their 10th major tournament final – only Germany (14) have reached more among European nations – after extending their unbeaten run to 33 matches.