Live Commentary: Spain Under-21s 3-1 Italy Under-21s - as it happened

Marco Asensio in action during the friendly between Italy under-21s and Spain under-21s on March 27, 2017
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Relive Spain's 3-1 victory over Italy as Saul Niguez's hat-trick fires Spain into the final of the Under-21 European Championships.

Spain Under-21s reached the final of Euro 2017 courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Italy Under-21s in Krakow this evening.

Saul Niguez scored a memorable hat-trick to fire Spain into their seventh final at this level, with Filippo Bernardeschi's reply not enough for the 10-man Azzurri.

Spain will now face Germany in Friday's final having progressed to the showpiece as the only unbeaten team in the competition.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.


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7.56pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for the second semi-final of the Under-21s Euro 2017 as Spain take on Italy in Krakow! Spain go into this game as favourites for the tournament, but they are taking on the most successful nation in the competition's history, so it promises to be a fascinating contest between two of Europe's footballing heavyweights. The winners will face Germany in the final after they overcame England on penalties moments ago.

7.58pmTEAM NEWS: Kickoff is just a couple of minutes away now, so let me quickly bring you the teams tonight...

SPAIN UNDER-21S: Kepa; Bellerin, Mere, Vallejo, Jonny; Llorente, Saul, Ceballos; Deulofeu, Sandro, Asensio

ITALY UNDER-21S: Donnarumma; Calabria, Rugani, Caldara, Barreca; Benassi, Gagliardini, Pellegrini, Chiesa; Petagna, Bernardeschi


1 minKICKOFF: Spain get us underway in Krakow!

3 minSAVE! Good start from Italy as they call the Spain keeper into action in the opening minutes. Chiesa cuts inside from the left flank and drills a shot towards goal, but Kepa manages to keep hold of it.

5 minItaly have made a really strong and positive start to this match. Spain have barely been able to get out of their own half, and Italy will want to make the most of their early dominance by opening the scoring.

7 minBernardeschi is the next to go for goal for Italy, but this is a more speculative effort and it flies well off target.

9 minSHOT! Better from Spain as they come forward threateningly for the first time tonight. The ball finds its way to Ceballos who goes for goal, but it takes a big deflection on its way behind.

10 minSAVE! Spain almost take the lead in unorthodox fashion as Deulofeu whips the result corner towards goal, and Donnarumma needs to be alert to tip it over the crossbar.

12 minSpain may be favourites for this tournament at the moment, but there is so much quality on both sides that if either are below 100% tonight it could prove costly. So far it has been a good start to the contest from a neutral's point of view.

14 minSpain are seeing a lot more of the ball now than they were in the opening five minutes or so, settling into the contest after that tricky start.

16 minThese two sides are the most successful in the history of this competition, incidentally. Italy have lifted the trophy on five occasions, with Spain just one behind.

17 minSpain almost get in behind as Saul Niguez lifts a pass over the top of the defence for Bellerin, but his touch lets him down and a good attacking platform comes to nothing.

19 minSAVE! Deulofeu has started this match brightly, and this time he cuts inside from the left and goes for goal. Donnarumma has his angles right, though, and makes a comfortable save.

21 minWe're approaching the midway point in this first half and so far both sides will be relatively happy with what they have seen.

22 minCHANCE! The best chance of the night so far falls the way of Italy as the ball deflects kindly into the path of Pellegrini inside the area. The angle is against the Italian, though, and Kepa makes the save at his near post.

23 minSHOT! Another shot from Italy as this time Bernardeschi breaks into the box, but his strike is deflected well over.

25 minSAVE! Kepa is called into action again here as Caldera loops a header from a corner back into a dangerous area, but the Spain keeper does well to punch it away from underneath his own crossbar under pressure.

27 minStill no goals as we approach the half-hour point in this match, but it has been a good contest so far. It isn't quite the entertainment levels of England vs. Germany, but it has been played at a good tempo from the first whistle.

29 minSpain will have a chance to test Donnarumma again here as Sandro wins a free kick in a very promising position...

31 minCHANCE! Deulofeu slams his free kick into the wall, but he immediately darts into the area and is picked out by a brilliant pass from Ceballos. The angle is against Deulofeu, though, and he can't steer his shot on target.

33 minSpain have enjoyed 63% of the ball in the opening half an hour or so here, but Italy have arguably had the better chances so far. This one is very nicely poised.

34 minVery important piece of defending from Caldera as he puts Deulofeu's cross behind with Asensio lurking behind him. Asensio wanted the ball earlier, but Sandro chose the wrong pass out to Deulofeu instead.

35 minSHOT! Lovely football from Ceballos as he creates skips past one defender before poking the ball to Sandro, who fires his subsequent shot over the crossbar.

37 minBoth of these teams will fancy their chances of beating Germany in the final of this competition should they progress, which will only crank up the pressure for these young players.

39 minMost of the talk ahead of this match surrounded Asensio, but the Real Madrid man has been kept relatively quiet so far, which is down to decent defending from Italy.

41 minSpain continue to see more of the ball here, but Italy are keeping their shape well and are being disciplined. No way through for either side so far.

42 minGood defending from Llorente as he just eases his man out inside the box. There are some tentative calls for a penalty, but that was just a very solid piece of defending.

44 minSAVE! Petagna's inclusion has been questioned in some quarters, but he does well to create space for himself to shoot here before seeing his effort comfortably saved by Kepa.

45+1 minThere will be just the one added minute at the end of this first half.

45+1 minYELLOW CARD! Benassi goes into the book for a cynical trip on Deulofeu.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Spain Under-21s 0-0 Italy Under-21s

8.58pmThe first half comes to an end in Krakow, then, and we're still all square between Spain and Italy. It was always going to be a game full of quality with these two heavyweights, and sure enough it has been despite the goals. Chances have been at a premium, with Spain dominating possession but perhaps the best sights of goal going the way of Italy.

9pmThe best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Italy in rather fortuitous fashion when a deflection took the ball into the path of Pellegrini, who took a touch before going for goal. The angle was against the Italy midfielder, though, and Kepa made the save.

9.02pmKepa has also been called into action by Chiesa, Caldera and Petagna, but those have all been relatively routine stops for him. Donnarumma is also yet to be really tested, with Deulofeu coming closest directly from a corner.

46 minKICKOFF: Italy get us back underway for the second half in Krakow!

46 minCHANCE! Half a chance for Italy from a corner in the opening minute of the half as Rugani gets in front of his man at the near post and flicks a header on, but it is neither a shot nor is anyone there to apply a finishing touch.

48 minItaly started the first half brighter than Spain and the very early signs are that they will do so the second too.

50 minYELLOW CARD! Gagliardini becomes the second name in the book this evening.

53 minGOAL! Spain U21s 1-0 Italy U21s (Saul Niguez)

53 minOut of nothing, Spain burst into life and take the lead in style! Dani Ceballos, who has been very impressive tonight, cuts inside from the left flank and threads a clever little pass into Saul, who takes one touch before curling a fine finish into the bottom corner. Clinical from Spain.

55 minThat has been the story of much of Spain's tournament so far. They may be the only unbeaten team still in the competition but they haven't always had things all their own way, they have just been so clinical.

56 minYELLOW CARD! Caldara becomes the third Italian player in the book tonight.

57 minCHANCE! Almost a chance for Italy to react quickly as Pellegrini ghosts in unmarked at the back post. He plays a first-time ball back across the face of goal, but it is just too far in front of his teammates in the middle.

58 minRED CARD! Roberto Gagliardini (Italy)

58 minItaly may have seen their hopes of reaching the final all but ended in the space of five minutes here! Having fallen behind they are now down to 10 men as Gagliardini picks up a second yellow card! It is a long way back for Italy now!

60 minSpain dominated possession before the red card, and now you'd expect them to just pass Italy to death here. They are now in complete control.

62 minITALY SUB: Italy respond to that red card as Manuel Locatelli replaces Chiesa.

62 minGOAL! Spain U21s 1-1 Italy U21s (Filippo Bernardeschi)

62 minItaly down and out? Don't be so sure! Bernardeschi fires the 10 men of Italy back level, being allowed to carry the ball a long way inside before going for goal from just outside the area. It takes a deflection on the way through which takes it away from Kepa, and now Spain have to do it all again.

64 minMost would still back Spain to go on and win this match, but that goal ensures that Italy don't need to take any risks.

65 minGOAL! Spain U21s 2-1 Italy U21s (Saul Niguez)

65 minUnbelievable strike from Saul to respond immediately for Spain! His first goal was impressive enough but this is an absolute rocket as he drills one from all of 30 yards right into the top corner. Donnarumma did not stand a chance - the ball had smashed into the back of the net almost before he could even react. Stunning strike, and Spain are once again in control.

67 minThere is not too much Italy could have done about that strike, but they will still be hugely frustrated to have fallen behind again so soon after levelling things up.

68 minSAVE! Spain sweep forward on the counter-attack and Deulofeu cuts inside from the right flank before forcing a save from Donnarumma. The keeper actually pushed it back into a dangerous area, but he was fortunate that it fell to a white shirt.

70 minSpain are really in the mood now as Ceballos dribbles past three, four, five white shirts before letting Deulofeu take over. He also shows good footwork on his way into the box, but his shot is then blocked.

72 minCLOSE! Italy almost gift the dominant Spain a third goal, but Asensio places his effort just wide from outside the area. He tried to trick the keeper by opening his body before instead pulling his shot inches past the post.

73 minITALY SUB: Italy make another change here as Alberto Cerri replaces Petagna.

74 minItaly may be forced to rely on something special now and Pellegrini looks to produce it with a shot from range, but he drags it well wide.

74 minGOAL! Spain U21s 3-1 Italy U21s (Saul Niguez)

74 minIs that the goal which seals Spain's place in the final? Saul completes his hat-trick, and it is a stunning hat-trick too. Asensio collects the ball down the left flank and pulls a ball back to the edge of the box for Saul, who passes a brilliantly-controlled finish into the bottom corner. That is the matchball for him, and he deserves it for this second-half display. Superb.

76 minIt would take one of the great comebacks from Italy if they are to salvage something now. They are down to 10 men and can barely get their foot on the ball at the moment.

77 minYELLOW CARD! Cerri is the latest player in the book for a late challenge on Ceballos.

78 minSPAIN SUB: Spain make a change here as Inaki Williams replaces Sandro.

80 minJust 10 minutes remain in this one and you feel that there could be more goals to come for Spain. They are in complete control and look like they want more too.

83 minSPAIN SUB: Spain once again show the strength in depth they have at their disposal as Denis Suarez replaces Deulofeu.

85 minGood handling from Donnarumma as he keeps hold of Bellerin's low cross despite being under pressure from Williams sliding in.

87 minThe frustration is getting to Italy now and they are conceding a few cheap free kicks, forcing the ref to tell them to calm down.

88 minITALY SUB: Another change from Italy sees Luca Garritano replace Benassi.

89 minSPAIN SUB: Spain respond with a sub of their own as Ceballos is replaced by Mikel Oryarzabal.

90 minSAVE! Pellegrini tries to give Italy a consolation late on, picking the ball up and driving to the edge of the box before forcing a save from Kepa.

90+1 minThere will be four minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+2 minSAVE! Williams dribbles inside and goes for goal as he looks to get his own name on the scoresheet, but Donnarumma makes the save.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Spain U21s 3-1 Italy U21s

90+4 minSPAIN QUALIFY FOR THE FINAL OF EURO 2017!

10.03pmSpain ease into the final of Euro 2017, then, with Saul Niguez's hat-trick firing them past Italy and setting up a showdown with Germany on Friday. Bernardeschi had pulled one back for Italy after they had been reduced to 10 men, but in the end it was too big an ask and Spain qualify for the final!

10.05pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's semi-final as Saul Niguez fires Spain Under-21s into the final of Euro 2017. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to check back in for the final on Friday too. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

Gianluigi Donnarumma in action during the Serie A game between Roma and Milan on December 12, 2016
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