Spain’s leader Enrique out to settle old scores with Italy at 2020 Euro semi-finals - GulfToday

Spain’s leader Enrique out to settle old scores with Italy at 2020 Euro semi-finals


Spain’s Jordi Alba (right) and Koke attend a training session on Sunday. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Spain’s boss Luis Enrique will look to settle some old score against Italy when they meet in the semi-final of the Euro on Tuesday.

The infamous incident at the 1994 World Cup, involving him and the then Italy player Mauro Tassotti led to the suspension of the latter for eight years by FIFA.

But by the time verdict came, it was too late and the damage was done already. Tassotti had elbowed the Spaniard, which left him bleeding.

The Italian escaped without punishment and Spain were denied stoppage time that resulted in exit from the quarter-final of the showpiece events with a 2-1 defeat.

The urban legend started gaining the ground and the incident became one of most famous folklore of the Spanish heartbreak at the World Cup.

Spain had to endure a long barren run without winning any major title until 2008, when they finally exacted their revenge by sending Italy packing from the Euros.

To add icing to the cake, Vicente del Bosque then took over and steered Spain to the 2010 World Cup victory and following it up with a Euro double in 2012.

But by the time Enrique came to the helm Spain had fallen from the grace.

In the last three major tourneys, Spain failed to make the quarter-finals as the team was passing through transition.

The golden generation of a glorious era had grown old and was finding it difficult to carry the hopes of the nation on their weakened legs.

Enrique's contentious decision to leave out former captain Sergio Ramos compounded the problem as the only connecting link from the golden era was now missing.

Spain are playing for the first time without any Real Madrid player in a major tournament, as the coach drew flak from the press.

Despite all the odds stacked against him, the coach managed to take his team within a sniffing distance of another major title. They are just two wins away from the title and Enrique just one from taking his revenge against Italy for the 1994 howler.

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