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Main » 2008 » June » 23 » Spa 0-0 Ita: Shoot-out misery for Italy
5:28 PM
Spa 0-0 Ita: Shoot-out misery for Italy
Quarter-finals, 22/6/08 (19.45 UK)
Spain 0 - 0 Italy aet

Vienna, Austria

Italy are out of Euro 2008 after a penalty shoot-out, Iker Casillas saving from Antonio Di Natale and Daniele De Rossi. Spain go through to face Russia in the semi-final.

The statistics were on the Azzurri's side, as they were undefeated in competitive matches against Spain since the 1920 Olympics and their last official meeting was a 2-1 win in the 1994 World Cup quarter-final. The Iberians qualified from the group phase with a 100 per cent record, but in all the quarter-finals so far the group winners had gone out.

Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso sat out bans and were replaced by Alberto Aquilani - making his Euro 2008 debut - and Massimo Ambrosini, but the rest of the line-up that defeated France 2-0 remained unchanged. Luis Aragones rested his stars in the 2-1 win over Greece and returned to the same XI that won its opening two games. In a bid to end his goal drought, Luca Toni grew a moustache as a superstitious gesture.

A deflected David Villa effort was easy pickings for Gigi Buffon and Antonio Cassano's wonderful turn and pass for Simone Perrotta was intercepted at the last second, but Spain were giving away a lot of free kicks and Andres Iniesta was booked after 11 minutes for a late challenge on Fabio Grosso.

Ambrosini did brilliantly to perform a crucial tackle on Fernando Torres in the box. However, moments later Ambrosini was fortunate to get away with a touch on Villa's calf in the penalty area.

Ambrosini crossed for Perrotta's fairly weak header straight at Iker Casillas, then the Milan midfielder dispossessed a Spaniard only to pass it too long for Toni.

Buffon smothered a low Villa free kick that whizzed through the defensive wall. Ambrosini was booked for a late tackle on Senna and Buffon got down well to block a hopeful Silva strike from distance.

Italy's plan was to leave possession to Spain, but they began to take it a bit too far and were pinned back. Xavi Hernandez took advantage of Daniele De Rossi's slip for a deflected effort off target.

Cassano's chipped cross found a Toni header charged down by Marchena from six yards on 36 minutes. At the other end Torres had an angled drive slam into Chiellini and as the move continued Silva flashed wide of the far post from outside the box.

A couple of set-pieces caused problems for the Spanish defence and at the other end Villa wanted a free kick inches outside the area, but the referee waved play on. It was a fortunate decision for Italy, as Grosso stamped on Villa's foot.

Iniesta drilled past the near post after combining with Villa. There was a testy incident on the stroke of half-time, as Perrotta reacted to a sneaky kick from Xavi.

There was a major scare straight after the restart, as a lucky ricochet gave Silva the ball from seven yards, but Chiellini threw himself at the shot to charge it down.

Cassano horribly wasted a golden opportunity on the counter by sliding an imprecise ball past Ambrosini. A splendid Chiellini tackle stopped Torres short at the end of a sprint.

There was another fright as Torres won a battle of strength with Panucci to pass in to Villa, but again Chiellini intercepted with great timing and positioning. The Juventus defender blocked another cross off the head of Torres, confirming his excellent individual performance.

It was a far more open game now with both sides leaving and taking advantage of extra space. With this in mind, Mauro Camoranesi replaced Perrotta to bring more pace to the Azzurri.

Buffon punched away a Xavi curling corner and Silva blasted the follow-up well wide. Spain also made a substitution, Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Santi Cazorla coming on for Xavi and Iniesta.

Italy had a fantastic chance on the hour mark as some slack defending and Toni's physicality saw the ball ping-pong around the six-yard box before Casillas performed a desperate reaction save on Camoranesi with an outstretched left foot.

Aquilani scuffed a volley off target and a Villa free kick clipped the wall to land on the roof of the net. Toni nodded a curling Gianluca Zambrotta cross wide between two defenders.

Villa was rather harshly booked for diving, as he seemed to slip when Chiellini stood his ground and he had to change direction quickly. Torres was angry and had a coming together with Grosso.

Sergio Ramos fired past the near post with a hopeful attempt. Donadoni's second change saw Antonio Di Natale replace Cassano. A dangerous corner found Buffon crowded out, but got enough to it to send it clear.

Buffon's first real save of the game was on 80 minutes, as he punched away a Senna free kick from 28 metres. Moments later the goalkeeper fumbled another Senna missile from distance that rolled on to the base of the upright and back into his grateful arms!

Sergio Ramos did enough to put Toni off his header, but a poor Torres first touch accidentally turned into an assist for Villa and Chiellini again stood his ground.

There was a great chance wasted by the Azzurri! Di Natale's cross was heading for the unmarked Grosso at the back post, but Toni went for it and took the ball off his foot!

Getafe striker Daniel Guiza replaced Torres in a surprise substitution six minutes from time. Spain have had a tendency to score very late goals in all their games in Euro 2008, so they began to pour forward in the hope of sealing this before it went to extra time.

Guiza escaped a booking for a double handling offence that looked more like volleyball than football, though Buffon had saved it anyway. Zambrotta smartly got his body between Villa and the ball, then cleared a dangerous Fabregas cross off Villa's foot with only Buffon to beat. It was crucial, as this quarter-final went to extra time.

Sergio Ramos tussled with Chiellini as a free kick was floated in, but it looked like a mutual movement. Spain had two chances in the same move, as Chiellini charged down Villa's effort and the Silva follow-up flashed inches past the upright.

Di Natale flicked a fine ball on for Grosso, whose cross was reaching Toni's foot before a crucial defensive intervention. From the following throw-in Di Natale got a firm header to Zambrotta's centre, bringing a fantastic fingertip save out of Casillas.

Italy strung together a series of corners and Toni's stooping header landed on the roof of the net. Villa slipped, but still managed to get a backheel to Silva from the floor, then Guiza's angled drive was well wide.

Casillas plucked a Grosso free kick off Chiellini's head and it was still 0-0 15 minutes into extra time. Sergio Ramos' high foot kicked Camoranesi in the shoulder for a free kick just outside the box, but Grosso's effort was off target.

The final substitution saw Alessandro Del Piero replace Aquilani, pushing Camoranesi back into central midfield in a very attacking change with 12 minutes to go before penalties.

Villa sprung the offside trap from Silva in a very close decision, but Buffon followed him and forced a corner with his legs, from which Sergio Ramos nodded wide. Chiellini's sliding tackle stopped Santi Cazorla from turning in Villa's through ball and avoided a corner, for which Cazorla was booked for dissent.

There was fair play from Spain, who put the ball out when Di Natale was down injured with a bruised thigh. Marchena charged down a Del Piero strike and on the counter Chiellini and De Rossi needed a double intervention to keep the Spaniards at bay.

A magnificent bit of play from Del Piero left his marker for dead, but the pass to Grosso was intercepted just inside the box. Guiza and Di Natale ballooned hopeful attempts off target, but a good counter from Spain in the final minute saw Santi Cazorla flash an angled drive acros the face of goal. It was the last kick of the game and it went to penalties.

The first up was David Villa, who buried it past Buffon. Grosso smashed a powerful finish to level it, just as he had against France in Berlin. Santi Cazorla rolled it low to send Buffon the wrong way. De Rossi hit it hard, but Casillas guessed the direction and it was saved. Senna lifted a fine right-foot penalty over the goalkeeper. Camoranesi kept Italy in it by firing into the top corner. Guiza stepped up and Buffon levelled the scores with a save on the substitute. Di Natale was next up and his was saved, too, as Casillas got the right angle on a fairly central kick. Fabregas converted the final kick to send Spain through to the semi-finals.

Shoot-out: :

Spain: Villa (goal), Santi Cazorla (goal), Senna (goal), Guiza (saved), Fabregas (goal)

Italy: Grosso (goal), De Rossi (saved), Camoranesi (goal), Di Natale (saved)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

Italy: Buffon; Zambrotta, Panucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Ambrosini, De Rossi, Aquilani (Del Piero 108); Perrotta (Camoranesi 57); Cassano (Di Natale 74), Toni

Ref: Fandel (Ger)

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Category: Azzurri | Views: 863 | Added by: nesta13
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