Spain held their nerve to edge past Italy on penalties and book a final showdown against Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
The world champions were given a stern examination in Fortaleza on Thursday but they stood up to the test and extended their record-breaking unbeaten run in all competitions to 29 matches.
Both sides had chances to win the tie in normal time and in the 30 minutes of extra time that followed but it came down to spot-kicks and after six successful attempts each, it was Leonardo Bonucci who blinked first and substitute Jesus Navas capitalised to plunder the winning penalty.
In a game that saw the two sides meet for the first time since Spain won 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012, Vicente del Bosque kept faith with the competition's top scorer Fernando Torres up front.
Italy, however, were forced into a change in attack due to an injury suffered by Mario Balotelli, with the Milan striker having flown home with a thigh injury. Alberto Gilardino was the man to replace him.
Manager Cesare Prandelli was able to call on the services of midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who missed the 4-2 defeat to Brazil after suffering a calf injury.
Italy started much the brighter and had the first chance of the match, with Christian Maggio heading narrowly over from a corner after seven minutes. The full-back then forced the first save of the game from Iker Casillas following a quick break shortly after.
The pressure continued as Daniele De Rossi glanced a header just wide from a Pirlo cross, but Del Bosque's men soon began to show some composure and calm the game down.
Still it was the Italians who should have led heading into the break as Maggio directed a close-range header straight at Casillas 10 minutes before the interval.
The game slowed down in the second half, with the first effort coming after 57 minutes when Navas forced a good save from Gianluigi Buffon.
Gerard Pique spurned a good opportunity to break the deadlock late on as he fired a shot over the bar, before good link-up play between Torres and Navas saw the new Manchester City signing sting the palms of Buffon with a powerful strike.
Spain continued to pile on the pressure right into stoppage time at the end of the second half but to no avail.
It took until the third minute of extra time for the best chance of the match arrive as Italy substitute Sebastian Giovinco crashed an effort off the post with Casillas stranded.
With both Torres and Gilardino now substituted, both sides were playing without a recognised striker and the goal drought continued, although Juan Mata went close with a curling effort in the second half of extra time.
Xavi Hernandez saw his long-range effort hit the post in the closing stages and penalties beckoned.
The first 12 efforts were textbook examples of how to keep your cool under pressure but after Sergio Busquets had cancelled out Riccardo Montolivo's assured strike to make it 6-6, Bonucci ballooned his effort well over the bar and Navas stepped up to fire a low effort into the corner and seal victory for the Spaniards.
Spain will play Brazil in the final on Sunday, while Italy will meet Uruguay in the third-place play-off on the same day.
|Coach: Del Bosque|
for David Silva 53'
for Pedro 79'
for Fernando Torres 94'
|Torres: I´d give my life to win La Liga with Atletico|
|Real target Ceballos focused on Betis - Mel|
|Platini can lead FIFA change - Fernandez|
|Mel: Betis won´t be signing Osvaldo|
|Ferrero defends Samp boss Zenga|
|Pochettino expects Spurs improvement|
|Bale ideal for United - Robson|
|Ferdinand: Di Maria will regret United failure|
|Benitez pleased with goalkeepers as De Gea transfer saga continues|
|Guardiola tips fit Schweinsteiger to shine|
|Confident Oxlade-Chamberlain hits back at Keane|
|Ferdinand: Stones would be ´a lunatic´ to join Chelsea|
|Qarabag v Celtic: Gordon wants positivity from Scottish champions|
|Higuain rejects extension from Napoli|
|Zamora returns to Brighton|
|West Ham can cope without Valencia - Gold|
|Wickham loses on Palace debut|
|Guardiola: No problem with Matthaus and Effenberg comments|
|Cartabia excited by Deportivo loan|
|Lyon confirm Rafael deal|
|Hysaj agrees deal to follow Sarri to Napoli|
|Rafael says his goodbyes to Manchester United|
|Dos Santos ready to get going with Galaxy|
|Pochettino rejects Soldado exit talk|
|Metatarsal misery for Mulumbu|
|Benitez: Benzema and Bale going nowhere|
|Mihajlovic: Ibrahimovic would make Milan title contenders|
|Hughes not taking any risks with Bojan|
|Guardiola relishing Audi Cup test|
|Di Maria ´taking a step up´ - Silva|
|Leicester bring in defender Benalouane|
|Deulofeu doubtful for Premier League opener|
|West Ham striker Valencia out for three months|
|UEFA: Qarabag-Celtic to go ahead|
|Palace seal Wickham swoop|
|Ronaldo and Benzema to miss Audi Cup|
|Marotta: Juventus could lose Pogba|
|Kante completes Leicester switch|
|Khedira ruled out for two months|
|FA accepts Mourinho criticism of Wembley surface|
|Robben rubbishes injury talk|
|Marchisio expects Milan title challenge|
|Rafael set for Lyon move|
|Celtic ´seeking reassurances´ over Qarabag pitch|
|Wenger beating Mourinho does not affect Chelsea - Zouma|
|Rooney moved by Everton welcome|
|Mancini not worried by lack of Inter goals|
|Coloccini wants to finish career at Newcastle - McClaren|
|Ramsey: Pressure to win trophies is nothing new|
|Terry: Wembley defeat could be a ´blessing in disguise´|
|Blatter not running for IOC re-election|
|Bendtner: Wolfsburg can challenge Bayern for Bundesliga honours|
|Liverpool relishing Britannia return, says Henderson|
|Everton big enough to keep Stones - Martinez|
|MLS Review: Fire stun Dallas as goals dry up|
|New Atletico signings excite Raul Garcia|
|Cahill expects Arsenal title challenge|
|Jovetic happy with Inter debut|
|Luis Enrique: Barca defence must improve|
|Yanev calls for calm after ugly scenes in friendly|
|Coppa Italia Review: Cittadella romp to victory, Brescia rely on penalties|
|Arsenal have learned how to play against big teams - Ramsey|
|Shawcross to visit specialist over back woe|
|Fiorentina 2 Barcelona 1: Bernardeschi double sends Barca to another defeat|
|Mancini hints at Melo interest|
|Rodgers hails ´incredible´ Benteke strike|
|Galatasary 1 Inter 0: Sneijder sinks former club|
|Wenger defends Arsenal approach|
|Wembley loss has no bearing on new season - Terry|
|Porto cruise to friendly win over Stoke|
|Mourinho denies Wenger ´snub´ suggestions|
|Arsenal abandoned their philosophy to win Community Shield - Mourinho|
|Mourinho throws Community Shield medal into Wembley crowd|
|Swindon Town 1 Liverpool 2: Benteke nets stunner on debut|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Hearts win thriller on top-flight return|
|Ujah at the double as Bremen beat West Ham|
|Mourinho: We were the better team|
|Wenger hails defensive solidity|
|Rooney returns as Villarreal spoil Ferguson´s party|
|Rodriguez stunner earns Southampton draw as Caulker makes debut|
|Arsenal 1 Chelsea 0: Case of 14th time lucky for Wenger against Mourinho|
|Taechaubol announces Milan agreement|
|Jojic fires Cologne to latest victory|
|China 0 South Korea 2: Kim and Lee seal victory|
|Origi getting up to speed|
|Costa a doubt for start of season - Mourinho|
|North Korea 2 Japan 1: Halilhodzic´s men spurn lead|
|Allam brands FA ´amateurs´ as name-change row rumbles on|
|Fournier ´worried´ by Lyon pre-season|
|Swansea still working on Michu exit - Monk|
|Neuer furious at Bayern Supercup defeat|
|Wenger: Ozil signing not a mistake|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Shakhtar ready for Fenerbahce decider|
|Lampard targets MLS play-offs for City|
|MLS Review: Goals galore as DC United win 10-goal thriller|
|Ronaldinho returns and helps Fluminense to win|
|Keane: United won´t overtake Chelsea|
|Casillas has the ´enthusiasm of a 20-year-old´ - Lopetegui|
|Blanc hopeful over Ibrahimovic knee injury|
|Guardiola laments late goal in Supercup defeat|
|Tuchel plans to keep Bender|
|Hecking happy with Wolfsburg discipline after Supercup win|
|Arsenal players too interested in selfies and six-packs - Keane|
|Confusion over Ibrahimovic´s PSG future|