Same story. New characters. And a much different ending, this time. Italy had their revenge after defeating Spain 2-0 and advancing to the last 8 in EURO 2016.
The match started brightly for both the sides as they looked to mount pressure on each other in early stages of the 1st half, with Italy getting the better chances which were thwarted by the man between the sticks for Spain, David de Gea.
The first chance for Italy came in the 8th minute when a Pelle header was saved by de Gea and the Manchester United man again denied Italy in the 11th minute, with another fine save which was forced by an audacious over head kick by Giaccherini.
Italy displayed plenty of attacking prowess and had Spain pegged back a lot of times but it wasn’t until Eder’s free kick at just over the half-hour mark that they had their 1st goal as Eder’s shot was saved by de Gea but Georgio Chiellini raced into the 6-yard box to poke it into the net and put Italy ahead over the defending champions. 1-0.
Italy looked hungry for more as Giaccherini made a brilliant run down the left and swung a mean right-footer, only to force another stunning save from de Gea,who had arguably been Sapin’s highlight player in the game, so far.
The second half started with a glorious miss for Alvaro Morata as he tamely shot a header at Buffon in the 49th minute and 6 minutes later, David de Gea again denied Eder after a stunning back flick from Pelle and kept Spain’s title hopes alive.
Spain tried to push for an equalizer as Morata was replaced by Lucas Vazquez and the Real Madrid winger brought on plenty of energy that had seemed to be lacking from the Spanish side. Aduriz shot wide in the 70th minute and Ramos headed wide as well, in the 71st. Spain continued to pile on the numbers forward but the resilient Italian defending and Buffon refused to bow down.
Buffon again provided vital saves for Italy as he saved a beautifully drilled volley from Iniesta and then saved a Pique shot to keep Spain at bay and things went from bad to worse for Spain as Aduriz, who came on as a substitute had to be subbed off himself as he was limping after an injury.
Buffon again proved to be the hero for the stern and organized Italian side by denying Gerard Pique’s volley with a fantastic save as the game reached its final few minutes.
But it was all over by the 92nd minute as Italy made it 2-0 after Insigne played a scintillating cross field pass to Matteo Darmian, whose low cross was deflected to Pelle and he made no mistake to volley in from close range to put Italy ahead and out of Spain’s reach.
It was an amazing performance from Italy who looked almost unstoppable throughout the match with brilliant attacking flair, resolute defending and Buffon heroics.
Spain looked nothing like the side which had won the previous two editions of the tournament and Italy had their revenge after their loss in the 2012 edition’s final.
Italy had won, fair and square after a dramatic game and had qualified for the quarter-finals.
Your move, Germany.
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