Euro 2024: Spain dominates Italy and advances to the eighth

Euro 2024: Spain dominates Italy and advances to the eighth
Euro 2024: Spain dominates Italy and advances to the eighth

It was an autogoal from Riccardo Calafiori (right) that allowed Spain to beat Italy.


The highly anticipated duel between Italy and Spain did not really take place: La Roja, attractive and superior in all registers, left no chance to the reigning European champions, outclassed 1 to 0, Thursday in Gelsenkirchen.

With two victories in two matches, Spain pocketed its ticket to the round of 16 of Euro 2024 and sent a strong message: assured of finishing at the top of the difficult Group B, it will be necessary to count on it to achieve a fourth crown European on July 14 in Berlin.

The Williams and Lamal dangers

Luis de la Fuente’s team stifled the Nazionale, who miraculously held on for almost an hour thanks to the saves of Gianluigi Donarumma, before cracking against two young, uninhibited wingers, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

It was also the Athletic Bilbao striker who set the tone in the 2nd minute, with a cross headed by Pedri, diverted by Donnarumma above his crossbar.

Four minutes later, Williams, 21, headed at the far post a cross from his captain Alvaro Morata, but narrowly missed the target to the great relief of the Italian fans massed behind Donnarumma’s goal.

If Williams put Giovanni di Lorenzo to torture, like this overflow where he overtook him (20th) or this roulette-hook sequence forcing the Naples defender to make a mistake to stop him, the danger also came from the right wing thanks to Yamal’s speed and dribbling.

Calafiori’s autogoal

The FC Barcelona prodigy, who will turn 17 on July 13, rushed into the Italian defense in the 24th minute and found Morata in the area, but the Spanish captain’s cross shot was stopped by Donnarumma.

Already in sight against Croatia, Fabian Ruiz called on his Paris SG teammate who diverted a clear shot above his crossbar (25th).

At the end of a one-sided first period (9 Spanish shots including four on target, for a single Italian opportunity, off target, an attempt by Federico Chiesa in added time), Luciano Spalletti attempted an electroshock.

He brought out Davide Frattesi and Jorginho, dominated by Pedri and Rodri in midfield, to replace them with Andrea Cambiaso and Bryan Cristante, with a much more physical register.

It took more to disrupt the fine Spanish mechanics who ended up concretizing their clear domination in the 55th minute thanks to a new flash from Williams: after yet another overflow, his fleeing cross was propelled into his own goal by Riccardo Calafiori.

Missed test for Italy

This goal and two new substitutions ended up waking up Italy, which had lost its two previous duels with Spain (in the semi-finals of the 2021 and 2023 Nations League).

After recovering a ball in midfield, Cristante wrong-footed the Spanish defense, but his cross flew in front of Unai Simon’s goal, Matteo Retegui, who entered shortly before, narrowly missing the ball.

If the Nazionale finished better and regained a little momentum, it was again Spain which offered itself the clearest opportunity thanks to Williams whose curling shot was repelled by the crossbar of Donnarumma, beaten (70th).

The PSG goalkeeper saved his team from a rout, with two saves in added time against Ayoze.

Spalletti’s Italy, which had already lost its only match played against a nation in the world’s top 10 (3-1 against England in the Euro 2024 qualifiers), completely missed its first important test. Spain is launched.




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