MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Italy's delight at reaching the Euro 2020 semi-finals with Friday's 2-1 win over Belgium was soured by a serious injury to left-back Leonardo Spinazzola who was taken off on a stretcher in the second half and is expected to be out of the tournament.
Italian media reports said AS Roma defender Spinazzola, who has been fundamental to the Azzurri's impressive run to the last four, had a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon injury, which would likely sideline him for months.
"He didn't deserve that, he has been one of the best players of this tournament and he will still be even if he can't play in the next games," Italy manager Roberto Mancini told a news conference. "We are very, very sad with what has happened it seems quite a serious one."
Spinazzola, 28, was pictured in tears on the stretcher as he left the field to be replaced by Emerson Palmieri, who is likely to take his spot for Tuesday's semi against Spain at Wembley.
Italy striker Lorenzo Insigne said the players were saddened by the injury to their team mate.
"Its a great loss, we will try to go all the way above all for him. Up to today he has been such a key player, an influential player for us," he said.
Mancini hailed his team for another impressive performance.
"I don’t think we suffered too much in any moment of the game. To beat a team like Belgium you need a great performance by everybody and this is exactly what happened today," he said.
"We scored two and we could have scored more. I think the victory is fully deserved. Spain are next but the more you go forward the most difficult it becomes. Tonight, however, we just want to think about our performance and our victory."
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)