Italy has defeated Greece to join Belgium as the second team to qualify for UEFA Euro 2020 while Spain has been made to wait following Saturday's draw with Norway. La Furia Roja was on course to booking its ticket to the finals but saw its qualification postponed after conceding a late equaliser via a spot-kick.
For Italy, the outcome of the night's encounter caps an impressive campaign that has seen the side register seven wins in seven appearances. Characterised by a free-scoring attack and a resilient backline, the Azzurri's have laid waste to the like of Finland, Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece and Liechtenstein with three more games to spare.
The journey for Roberto Mancini's side began with a 2-0 win over Finland in March 2019 and was immediately followed by a 6-0 thumping of Liechtenstein. Goals from Barella, Bonucci and Insigne secured a 3-0 win in the third round fixture with Greece before the tough home contest with Bosnia ended in a 2-1 win back in June.
The steady rise continued at Armenia as the 2006 FIFA World Cup winners run away with a 3-1 victory before a subsequent 2-1 away win over Finland ensued. Coming into the Saturday's clash with Greece, a win was all that was needed for the qualification to be sealed and the feat was eventually ascertained, thanks to a second-half goals by Jorginho and Federico Bernardeschi.
Relatively, a win over Norway would have ensured the same feat for Spain but the 94th-minute penalty converted by Josh King meant that Roberto Moreno's men would have to hold on with any form of merry-making. Prior to the draw, the 2010 FIFA World Cup winners had had managed six wins out of six with 17 goals to show for.
A win against Sweden in the next Euro 2020 qualifying tie should be enough to enable Spain finally book its ticket.