KEY POINTS

  • Alvaro Morata became Spain's leading goal scorer in Euros
  • He now has 6 goals in Euros, one more than Fernando Torres
  • Morata currently plays for Juventus on loan

Spain’s center forward Alvaro Morata equaled a European Championship record held by legendary Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday.

From penalty misses to receiving death threats to equaling one of Ronaldo’s records, the Euros 2020 has been a roller-coaster ride for Morata.

In the semi-final game between Italy and Spain Tuesday, Federico Chiesa opened the scoring of the game before Morata netted an 80th-minute equalizer that forced a penalty shootout. Even though Spain were eliminated eventually as Italy qualified for the final, Morata became only the second player in European Championship history to score three-plus goals in two editions (2016 and 2020), after Ronaldo (2012, 2016, and 2020), according to OptaJohan.

While Morata’s equalizer took the game to extra-time and followed by a penalty shootout, the 28-year-old failed to score from the spot before his country crashed out of the tournament.

The goal against Italy took Morata’s tally in the European Championship to six, making him the leading goal scorer for Spain in the tournament. He surpassed former playmaker Fernando Torres, who had netted five goals in Euros for Spain, including one in the Euros 2012 final that coincidentally Spain had won by beating Italy.

Moreover, the Juventus star Morata, who came off the bench to net the score-equaling goal in the second half, also became the first-ever Spanish player to score for both club and country at Wembley Stadium, according to soccer website Goal.

Alvaro Morata Alvaro Morata, left, celebrates after scoring his first of two goals for Spain against South Korea. Photo: Getty Images

Reacting to Spain’s elimination from Euros 2020, coach Luis Enrique backed his players, saying they have been "marvelous" and "I can’t criticize them."

"I think we deserved an 'excellent' if I wanted to give my players marks. I think they've been marvelous. I can't criticize them, I have to praise them. It's time for them to rest now. Morata had an adductor problem but still wanted to take the penalty and that says so much for his personality. He's been gigantic for us in this tournament. In professional sport, we all have to learn how to win and how to take defeat. That's why I want to congratulate Italy. We're going back to Spain safe in the knowledge that we were clearly among the best teams at this tournament," the former FC Barcelona boss told UEFA’s official website in a post-match interview Tuesday.