It will be of little consolation to David Alaba, but the Real Madrid defender had a strong defensive showing in Austria’s 2 - 1 loss to Italy in today’s Euro 2020 quarter-final clash.
Alaba started as the left-back in Franco Foda’s 4-2-3-1, and played a more conservative role to the one he played in the group stages when he was more heavily involved in attack. Alaba didn’t join the offensce as much today, reserving his energy to ensure Austria were preserved against Domenico Berardi and Nicolo Barella’s attacking runs.
Defensively, Alaba had the difficult task on several sequences of marking one of two Italy players, and his performance today on the defensive end was better than it was against Ukraine in the final game of the group stages. Twice Alaba intercepted a dangerous Lorenzo Insigne ball into the box, and in the 25th minutes, the Austrian made a goal-saving challenge on Barella who was on a break.
But Alaba will be left frustrated with how the game unfolded in extra time. He was too narrow to cover the diagonal switch to goalscorer Federico Chiesa which unlocked the goal-scoring for the Italians in the 95th minute, and Alaba may have felt he could’ve helped cover Chiesa’s shot better than he did.
Offensively, Alaba did have a couple good ball-carrying runs, and as always, did show on both the overlap and underlap. He also had an impressive far post header where he towered over Italian defender Giovanni di Lorenzo to set up Marko Arnautovic, who scored, but was ultimately ruled offside by a hair.
Hard luck for Alaba and Austria tonight, but Real Madrid fans may find some comfort knowing their new signing will get to rest a little longer ahead of the season.