Joselu scored a late winner as Spain beat Italy to set up a Nations League final against Croatia on Sunday.
Yeremy Pino won the ball off Italy legend Leonardo Bonucci outside his own box before firing in Spain’s opener in Enschede, Netherlands.
Ciro Immobile equalised for Italy with a penalty after Spain debutant Robin le Normand handled in the box.
Substitute Joselu pounced from close range after Rodri’s deflected shot to send Spain to the Rotterdam final.
It continues the remarkable late-career rise of Espanyol striker Joselu.
The 33-year-old only made his international debut in March and has now scored three goals in three appearances.
He was the third top scorer in La Liga this season with 16 goals, only behind Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, despite his team being relegated.
Joselu has come a long way since netting four goals in 22 Premier League games for Stoke and then six in 46 league games for Newcastle before returning home in 2019.
He now has a chance to claim his first winner’s medal on Sunday.
Spain, who lost the 2021 Nations League final to France, face a Croatia side bidding to win their country’s first international trophy.
Italy must face the Netherlands, who lost to Croatia in the other semi-final, in a third-placed play-off earlier that day.
Spain get a deserved win to boost De la Fuente
Neither side is having a great time of it.
Morocco knocked Spain out of the World Cup in the last 16, while Italy did not even reach the tournament.
Both sides have already lost Euro 2024 qualifiers, with England beating Roberto Mancini’s Italy and Scotland stunning Spain.
But this result is a major lift for Spain boss Luis de la Fuente, who replaced Luis Enrique after the World Cup following a decade in charge of his country’s youth teams.
It was a fully deserved win for La Roja, who had several notable selections.
Le Normand, 26, was making his international debut, a month after gaining Spanish citizenship through his seven years living in the country while playing for Real Sociedad. He partnered Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte, who was also born in France, at the back.
Rodri made his 65th appearance of the season, five days after scoring the only goal in the Champions League final as Manchester City beat Inter Milan to wrap up the Treble.
And Sevilla right-back Jesus Navas, 37, made his first international appearance since 2020.
They got off to an ideal start when Pino caught legendary Italy captain Bonucci dawdling before beating Gianluigi Donnarumma.
But Italy were level when Nicolo Zaniolo volleyed the ball off Le Normand’s arm with Immobile slotting in the penalty.
Davide Frattesi thought he had put Italy ahead from Jorginho’s pass but his goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside.
Spain completely dominated the second half with Alvaro Morata and Rodri having good chances.
But eventually it was Joselu who settled the game – four minutes after replacing Morata – from close range after Rodri’s effort took two ricochets off Italian defenders.
- 3Le Normand
- 18AlbaBooked at 45mins
- 6MerinoSubstituted forRuizat 74′minutes
- 19RodrigoSubstituted forAsensioat 45′minutes
- 9GaviBooked at 57minsSubstituted forCanalesat 68′minutes
- 15PinoSubstituted forAnsu Fatiat 74′minutes
- 7MorataBooked at 83minsSubstituted forJoseluat 84′minutes
- 2Carvajal Ramos
- 12Ansu Fati
- 17García Torres
- 21Olmo Carvajal
- 1G Donnarumma
- 19BonucciSubstituted forDarmianat 45′minutes
- 2Di Lorenzo
- 7FrattesiSubstituted forVerrattiat 76′minutes
- 8JorginhoSubstituted forCristanteat 61′minutes
- 4SpinazzolaSubstituted forDimarcoat 45′minutes
- 11ZanioloBooked at 90mins
- 17ImmobileBooked at 38minsSubstituted forChiesaat 60′minutes
Match ends, Spain 2, Italy 1.
Second Half ends, Spain 2, Italy 1.
Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Robin Le Normand (Spain) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy).
Foul by Ansu Fati (Spain).
Matteo Darmian (Italy) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Spain 2, Italy 1. Joselu (Spain) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Rodri (Spain) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Ansu Fati (Spain).
Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Spain. Joselu replaces Álvaro Morata.
Álvaro Morata (Spain) is shown the yellow card.
(Italy) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy) left footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Bryan Cristante.
Foul by Aymeric Laporte (Spain).
Nicolò Zaniolo (Italy) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Álvaro Morata (Spain) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marco Asensio with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Spain. Conceded by Gianluigi Donnarumma.