Super-subs Federico Chiesa and Matteo Pessina scored in extra time as Italy survived a huge scare to beat Austria 2-1 and progress to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
The pair saved the Azzurri's blushes after a fairly sterile affair with both sides lacking sharpness in the final third.
Roberto Mancini, who picked Marco Verratti ahead of Manuel Locatelli, saw his side create the better chances in the first half with the standout moment being Ciro Immobile's stunning strike from around 30 yards that clipped the outside of the woodwork.
The Austrians defended well throughout, helped by the Azzurri's largely slow buildup play, and they were the better side in the second half with David Alaba and Marco Arnautovic going close.
And they had a goal disallowed by VAR after Arnautovic was judged offside when he headed the ball in from Alaba's flick on.
Mancini threw the kitchen sink at their opponents, bringing on Andrea Belotti, Chiesa, Pessina and Locatelli, and it was the Juve man who broke the deadlock with a well taken strike at the back post for his second international goal.
Atalanta's Pessina looked to have sealed the game with a strike from close range a few minutes later.
Sasa Kalajdzic netted for Austria in the second half of extra time with a header from a corner but the Italians held on to set up a last eight clash with either Belgium or Portugal.
Mancini's side relies on his bench to get his side out of trouble.
The Azzurri were unable to unlock a stubborn defence after 90 minutes but to his credit the Italian boss made a host of substitutions towards the end of the game and they made the difference. The former Manchester City boss has used his squad well throughout this tournament, using 25 of the 26 players, and it came up trumps again. Austria worked their socks off with their pressing and in hindsight should have brought some more fresh legs on at the start of extra time.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Matteo Pessina of Italy celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Italy and Austria at Wembley Stadium at Wembley Stadium on June 26, 2021 in London, Engla
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Xaver Schlager (Austria): The Wolfsburg man won the midfield battle with his pressing, tire workrate and tackling. He did not give Italy's creative players an inch of space for 90 minutes.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Xaver Schlager of Austria controls the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Round of 16 match between Italy and Austria at Wembley Stadium on June 26, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.