Buffon was a wall in Paris. Three great performances from the Italian keeper stopped Spain's dream of a third Title in a row. Chiellini and Pellè scored for Italy. De Gea defended Spain's goal over half a dozen times in the first half. Pedro played the last stage of the game.
Heartbreaking and hard to swallow for Spanish fans, the road to the EURO comes to an end for Vicente del Bosque's men, who despite their best efforts didn't win. Italy was too efficient, clear and effectively, precise - they were superior and won the match. The knock out rounds had begun in the European Cup, and only one team would get the ticket through to the quarterfinals. This time round, our EURO champion only made it half way to defend its title.
All the previsions materialized, this classic match was a show, the way it has been throughout history. Italy presented a different game style, quick, fast to react and solid in defense; the players knew it well and this distracted Del Bosque's men who struggled to keep up with the frenetic pace. Twenty minutes went by before the Spanish side could get hold of the ball properly. In the 32' Italy corrected its aim, award to its superiority, Éder threatened our goal. Rejected by De Gea, Piqué was alone in the danger zone and finally Chiellini scored the opener for the 'Azzurra'.
Stellar match for De Gea who made over half a dozen saves, elegant, with fast reflexes, Spain's keeper defended his goal with the same hunger with which Italy looked for a goal. Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini stood tall for Italy's defense, not allowing our strikers to make it through their wall. Giaccherini also tried his luck with a couple of shots outside the box. Spain had to change style in the second half.
Directed by Daniele de Rossi on the pitch, Italy came out after half time looking to take over the way they had in the first. Pellè was the first to try to increase the advantage on the scoreboard. With changes for Spain with Morata and Nolito out and Aduriz and Lucas Vázquez in, meant Spain had a fresh start for Spain to carry on trying. The Spanish side regained possession and looked a little less lost than in the first 45 minutes, making an effort to play higher up.
Spain improved its performance in the second half, they went for it all, but their precision was not on point in the final moments. Italy gave it another shot in the 62', which rolled over to De Gea without anyone to cover him, with added pressure. The match was dragging on for Spain, with Casillas stand up, supporting the team as the minutes went by in search of a draw and scared of a counterattack. In the 68' Aduriz skimmed the ball, possibly the most threatening for Spain. Followed seven minutes later by Iniesta's cross which Piqué shot at Buffon.
Spain gave its all in the final moments of the game. In the 89' Buffon blocked Spain's intentions, which the Spanish fans cheered. Then, suddenly, in a loose ball along the wing, which in a counter attack saw Pellè made the most of it. It was Italy's second goal in a one on one, where our opponents came out on top.
- Match report by sefutbol.com
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