Goals from substitutes Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina eventually saw the Italians take a 2-0 lead at Wembley after the 90 minutes of regulation time had ended goalless, but even then they were not out of the woods as Sasa Kalajdzic’s header made for a nervy finale.
Italy had been arguably the tournament’s most impressive team during the group stage, winning all three of their matches to top Group A ahead of Wales, Switzerland and Turkey.
However, those games were played in front of a home crowd in Rome and for much of their last-16 tie in London they struggled to find the same rhythm.
Ciro Immobile’s stunning first-half effort which clipped the woodwork was the closest they came to breaching the Austrian defence in normal time, while Marko Arnautovic thought he had found a breakthrough at the other end, only to see his header disallowed for offside by VAR.
Eventually, it was Chiesa who opened the scoring five minutes into extra time with a superb piece of control and finish, before Pessina doubled the advantage with a low drive just before the interval.
That should have been game over but Austria refused to lie down and Kalajdzic’s brave diving header gave his side hope of a dramatic recovery. It was not to be, however, and Italy will now face either Portugal or Belgium in the quarter-final.