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Italy vs Spain a few quick thoughts

  • Holders Spain are out
  • Their dominance of this competition has been finally broken as the 2008 and 2012 winners have been dumped out by Italy
  • Antonio Conte’s side exacting revenge after that 4-0 thumping in Kiev 4 years ago
  • And after watching last night’s game it’s nothing short of what they deserved
  • They started quick out of the blocks and David De Gea had to make two excellent saves to keep the scores level at 0-0
  • That would prove to be a theme throughout the game as De Gea was called into action time and time again
  • It would take Spain 25 minutes to even register a real shot on target such was the early Italian dominance
  • Antonio Conte was an incredibly animated figure on the touchline, kicking every ball in anger at one point literally as he booted the ball in frustration even before the ball had rolled off the pitch
  • That required a telling off from the Referee but that wasn’t going to stop Conte barking orders from the touchline
  • After the Italian early pressure was not rewarded with a goal they finally got their breakthrough when Giorgio Chiellini prodded home from close range
  • It took three attempts for Italy to get the ball over the line thanks to once again De Gea’s heroics but he could no longer keep them at bay as the Azzuri celebrated going in front
  • But over the course the game it really was a masterclass from Italy, they stifled Spain at every opportunity
  • Italy ahead at the break and Spain would have to come out of the blocks quicker in the second half
  • That they did but they still struggled to break down a resolute Italian defence
  • Danielle De Rossi came off for Italy just 10 minutes after the break and Spain then started to get a foothold in the game
  • Alvaro Morata missed an opportunity to level things up with his header falling straight at the imperious Gianluigi Buffon
  • While once again David De Gea was required to keep Spain in proceedings as Eder surged through on goal when he looked odds on to double Italy’s advantage
  • Although Spain were looking livelier, Italy still didn’t put a foot wrong
  • Spain were now getting more and more frustrated as their grip on the European Championship was slipping away
  • Was there to be one last twist though
  • With De Gea launching a long ball forward in the last minute, the nod down fell at the feet of Gerald Pique
  • He was in the right place at the right time but Buffon pulled off a brilliant outstretched save to keep Italy in front
  • Spain’s last roll of the dice had been thrown
  • But there was to be one more twist and that was to see Italy secure their place in the Quarter Finals
  • A sweeping move saw Graziano Pelle pull off a gut busting run and just like the one against Belgium in injury time he once again slammed the ball home from close range to make it Italy 2-0 and set up a Quarter Final against Germany on Saturday night
  • For Spain is this the end of an era?
  • It could be Vicente Del Bosque’s last game in charge as he has hinted at retirement once Spain’s participation has ended
  • The next few days and weeks will tell us more on the Del Bosque front
  • But what we do know is that Antonio Conte will not be planning anything to do with Chelsea just yet as Italy go marching on

 

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