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 Spain Wins Against italy

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PostSubject: Spain Wins Against italy   Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:29 pm

Casillas The Hero As Italy Pay The Penalty





Spain 0-0 Italy (Spain win 4-2 on penalties)

Iker Casillas was the hero as Spain progressed to the semi-finals of
Euro 2008 after defeating Italy 4-2 on penalties after 120 minutes of
football faild to produce a goal.



Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale were denied by Casillas, while
Daniel Guiza was the only one to miss for Spain as Cesc Fabregas scored
the decisive penalty to book a semi-final date with Russia.

First Half

Group D winners Spain reverted back to their strongest line-up
having rested players during their dead-rubber win over Greece. Defender
Carles Puyol was originally thought to be a doubt for this game due to injury,
however he was fit enough to start. Fernando Torres and David Villa partnered
each other up-front.

Italy coach Roberto Donadoni had problems in midfield as Milan-duo
Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo were suspended, meaning that Massimo Ambrosini
and Alberto Aquilani came in. Defender Andrea Barzagli picked up an injury in
training on Thursday and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Antonio
Cassano again started off target man Luca Toni.



There was a cagey
start to the game as both teams felt each other out. The first shot of the game
came in the ninth minute as Silvaís 25-yard shot was deflected into the arms of
Gianluigi Buffon.

It was a very
tactical affair with much of the game being played in the middle of the field.
Villa went down in the box under a challenge from Ambrosini, and although there
was minimal contact the referee was never going to give a penalty.

Torres then found
space down the left and cut into the area, but Gianluca Zambrotta quickly got
back to put the forward off.



Italy had their first attempt on 18 minutes, as Simone Perrotta made a
late run into the box, and headed straight at Iker Casillas from an Ambrosini
cross. Down the other end Villa tried to ambitiously lob Buffon from miles out
but his effort was well wide.



Ambrosini robbed
Sergio Ramos down the left, and had Toni all by himself in the middle, but he
over-hit his cross.

The chess match
continued but Spain
were awarded a dangerous free kick just outside the area when De Rossi felled
Villa. The Valencia
man took the set-piece himself, and Buffon had to be alert to get down low to
save.

Buffon had to be
sharp again just past the half-hour as Silva drifted to the right, cut inside,
before unleashing a daisycutter that the keeper took no chances with, even
though it was probably creeping wide. Xavi also tried his luck from range, but
his shot was deflected off target.

Spain started to have a little spell of possession but all the efforts
were from long range, with Iniesta and Senna both shooting wide.

Italy created their best chance on 35 minutes, as Cassano made half a
yard against Sergio Ramos, crossed into the middle for Toni but his goal-bound
header cannoned off Marchena in front of him.

Silva had been Spainís
liveliest player in the first half, and he cut inside from the right again
before shooting inches past the far post. Iniesta, who had switched over to the
other side for Silva, played a clever give-and-go with Villa before scuffing
well wide.

Second Half

Into the second
half, and Silva almost had a glorious opportunity inside the area following a
poor clearance from Christian Panucci, but Giorgio Chiellini made a superb last
ditch tackle.

Torres shrugged
Panucci off the ball down the left, and tried to cross for Villa who would have
had an open goal at the back post, but Chiellini made another crucial
intervention.

Spain were now on top,
and Italy
made a change on 57 minutes, with Mauro Camoranesi introducing Perrotta.



La Seleccion
continued to attack, and Silva had another attempt from outside the area that
went wide. Luis Aragones then made a double change, introducing Cesc Fabregas
and Santi Cazorla for Xavi and Iniesta.

On the hour mark
Italy had a golden chance to take the lead, as a scramble in the box broke to
substitute Camoranesi eight yards out, but Casillas made a superb save with his
foot to keep the scores level.

Aquilani then
tried his luck from distance, but he never caught hold of his volley and it
went well wide. Down the other end Villaís free kick looped up onto the roof of
the net off the defensive wall. The Valencia man was booked for
simulation moments later after going down easily in the area under pressure
from Chiellini.

Italy were
pinning their hopes mainly on Toni, and the target towered above his marker
from a Zambrotta cross, but headed over. Sergio Ramos bombed forward from right
back for Spain,
but he slashed the ball well wide.

On 74 minutes Italyís
forgotten man in this tournament, Antonio Di Natale, replaced Cassano as
Donadoni looked to inject some pace into their game.

Sergio Ramos
tested Buffon with a looping left footed shot following a short corner, but it
was comfortable for the Juventus man. Spain were coming on strong now and
on 79 minutes Buffon beat away a dipping Villa shot. Seconds later
Buffon was thanking his lucky stars as he fumbled a straightforward Senna shot,
and as he scrambled back towards his line, the ball came trickled onto the post
before he gratefully dived onto the ball.

Down the other end Spain
also had a fortunate escape as Di Natale crossed from the right, and Grosso
seemed destined to score at the far post until a retreating Toni unwittingly
took the ball off his foot. Daniel Guiza replaced Torres as Aragones made his final substitution,
and almost immediately had a fine chance as Chiellini got underneath a Villa
cross, however Guiza controlled the ball with his hands and he was penalised.

Poor control also cost Villa dear in injury time following a fine
Fabregas ball as the game inevitably moved into extra time.



Spain attacked from the off in extra time, and they were inches away
from breaking the deadlock on 92 minutes as Chielliniís block on Guiza fell to
Silva, whose ferocious shot from the edge of the box whizzed inches wide.

Italy went close themselves down the other end as Di
Nataleís header forced an acrobatic save out of Casillas. The luckless Toni
then flicked a near post header onto the roof of the net from a corner.

Extra Time

The slow pace off the game continued, and penalties loomed nearer and
nearer. Guiza meanwhile screwed a shot well wide just before the two sides
swapped around for the final 15 minutes.

On 107 minutes Alessandro Del Piero was introduced for Aquilani,
presumably with the intention of taking a penalty if, as was looking likely, it
went to a shootout.

Silva slid Villa through on goal, but the strikerís touch forced him
wide, and Buffon made the block. From the resulting corner Ramos headed wide.

In the 117th minute Di Natale found space to run into, but he
shot disappointingly off target. Guiza pot-shot down the other end was watched
wide by Buffon. Cazorla was then out of luck with a cross-shot as the referee
blew for full time and the game went to penalties.

Penalties

Villa,
Grosso, and Cazorla all scored their penalties, before Spain drew first
blood with a stunning save from De Rossi. Senna and Camoranesi both
scored, before Buffon looked to have got Itaky back into it by denying
Cazorla. However Di Natale then had his tame spot-kick easily saved by
Casillas, and it was left up to Fabregas to win it for Spain. The
Arsenal man scored easily as Spain won 4-2 to end their June 22 penalty
curse.

Spain are through to their first major semi final since
1984 and will now play Russia. Italy meanwhile see their dream of
adding the Euros to their World Cup triumph shattered. The Azzurri will
take little comfort in the fact that they haven't been beaten in normal
time in a major tournament knockout tie for 20 years now. Penalties and
golden goals have proved their undoing.

Villa (S): Scored
Grosso (I): Scored
Cazorla (S): Scored
De Rossi (I): Saved
Senna (S): Scored
Camoranesi (I): Scored
Guiza (S): Saved
Di Natale(I): Saved
Fabregas (S): Scored

Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Marchena, Puyol,
Capdevila, Iniesta (Cazorla 59), Xavi (Fabregas 59), Senna, Silva, Torres
(Guiza 84), Villa

Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Panucci, Chiellini, Grosso,
De Rossi, Ambrosini, Aquilani (Del Piero 107), Perrotta (Camoranesi 57),
Cassano (Di Natale 74), Toni

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