Squadra Azzurra earned a 2-0 victory over Spain and thus took a long-sought revenge on their opponents who had claimed the previous European Championships title four years ago when they lifted the continental trophy after a merciless 4-0 win.
Squadra Azzurra 2016
The goals of the clash at Stade de France in Paris were scored by Georgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle. On minutes 35, Eder performed a perfect free kick from a central position, De Gea cleared it, but the ball arrived to Chiellini who send it from close range into the Spanish net.
Graziano Pelle completed a stunning win for Italy on minutes 90. With all the players attracted to the left side, Insigne drilled a majestic crossfield pass to Darmian on the right. He moved into the area and stabbed a low cross that was deflected up to Pelle, and he volleyed it in from a couple of meters.
This confrontation between Italy and Spain, the finalists of the last edition of the European Championship, was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful matches seen in France so far.
To reach the last of 16, Italy won its group by surpassing Belgium, Ireland and Sweden while Spain finished second in its group after Croatia but before Turkey and Czech Republic.
Alessandro Del Piero and Gianfranco Zola have encouraged Antonio Conte’s team and expected a revenge in response to the dramatic failure at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev four years ago when the Spaniards lifted the trophy for the second time in a row. “It will be a difficult match. I think Italy has a big chance to advance to the quarters, even if Spain has a good team. The Italians will give everything when they play against teams like Spain. So, the odds are 50-50,” said Zola.
“It will be a great game. Italy is an incredibly tactical team with an exemplary organization and comes with confidence. Spain is still very good. They have a delightful team. The clash will be intense and fierce but good for football,” added Del Piero.
Until the 2008 triumph on penalties, Spain had not defeated Italy in a competitive match for 74 years, according to the UEFA website, which shows that today’s confrontation is the 35th disputed by the two football giants. At this point, Italy claimed 11 wins and Spain 10, while 14 matches ended in a draw.
Italy: Buffon – Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini – Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, De Sciglio – Eder, Pelle
Subs: Marchetti, Sirigu – Darmian, Ogbonna, Candreva, Zaza, Motta, Immobile, Sturaro, Pins, Bernardeschi, El Shaarawy
Coach Antonio Conte
Spain: De Gea – Juanfran, Pique, Ramos, Alba – Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta – Silva, Morata, Nolito
Subs: Casillas, Rico – Azpilicueta, Bartra, Koke, Vazquez, Pedro, Bellerin, Alcantara, San Jose, Soriano, Aduriz
Coach: Vicente del Bosque.
Video: Italy vs Spain 2-0, EURO 2016, France