Italy booked a place in the Euro 2020 semi-finals with a magnificent 2-1 victory over Belgium in a high-calibre showdown in Munich.
Roberto Mancini’s men will now meet Spain at Wembley in the last four on Tuesday night after making it 13 wins in a row and stretching their unbeaten run to 32 matches.
The Azzurri had an early goal ruled out for offside by VAR but grabbed the initiative just past the half-hour when Nicolo Barella twinkle-toed his way into space in the box before rifling a low effort into the far corner.
Italy doubled their lead on 44 minutes when Lorenzo Insigne curled a quite wonderful shot beyond the reach of Thibaut Courtois after jinking in from the left flank.
Belgium looked to be on the rack but were handed a lifeline in first-half stoppage time when Giovanni Di Lorenzo fouled Jeremy Doku, allowing Romelu Lukaku to step up to the penalty spot and fire home his fourth goal of the tournament.
Kevin de Bruyne, who had been an injury doubt before the game, tried to inspire a recovery along with the excellent Doku, but the Red Devils could not unlock the Italians as they fell to just their second loss in the last 28 games.
Roberto Martinez’s golden generation will now have to deal with the failure of not living up to their billing once again, while the Italians continue to impress as an emerging force but will lament a late injury to the impressive Leonardo Spinazzola.