Italy-Spain last 16 Euro 2016: Result, Match Report, MBM
A Conte-inspired Italian masterclass knocked holders Spain out of Euro 2016 in the round of 16, Spain's 8-year reign came to the end as Italy make a legitimate claim to the throne.
Result: Italy 2 - 0 Spain
Spain's golden age of domination has come to a close at the feet of a classic Italian performance, the holders are out and Conté's centurions march into the quarter-finals as serious contenders to lift the cup.
Italy's organisation, game management, concentration and intensity were a match for Spain's controlled, patient passing approach. Spain had chances to even the tie up, but most were half-chances coming from set pieces and crosses into the crowded Italian area.
Italy were the team that took the chance that mattered and they progress to face Germany in the quarter-finals.
Here's how it happened...
95'| It's all over, Italy progress to the quarter-finals!
93'| Silva puts a boot near Chiellini and he rolls around, he really doesn't need to.. Yellow card for Silva..
91'| Classic Italian Catenaccio as an attempted pass falls perfectly for Pelle, the Italians are ecstatic..
91'| GOoooooooooooooooooooollllll..... Pelle finishes it! Italy 2-0..
90'| Piquee!! Has to score! Doesn't score! A long hopeful ball headed up in the air by an Italian head falls to Piqué but he can't squeeze it in...
88'| Darmian does well to win his team a free out after a slick one-two between Iniesta and Fabregas. Spain frustration rising. 2 mins plus stoppages...
86'| Silva so close to finding a sliding Pedro on the back post, corner, Pedro smashes it over the bar.
85'| Another cross flies in, another Italian leg swings it out mechanically.
83'| Del Bosque is trying to rouse his team, Casillas is on his feet, a perfect picture of frustration staring blankly at the sky, Italy not even remotely interested in going forward. Florenzi is off for Matteo Darmian, the Man United defender..
81'| Pedro sprints on, Aduriz hobbles off, 9 miutes for Spain to rescue their tournament.
79'| Italy are in their element here, soaking up the pressure and running down the clock. Pedro is ready to come on..
76'| Iniesta!! He caught that volley.. Vazquez dinked it to him, Iniesta blasted a left-foot volley, Buffon stood strong and blocked it over. Buffon then saves again from Piqué. Onslaught.
75'| Conte goes a bit mad and boots the ball away furiously, he gets a stern word from Cakir..
73'| Another tactical foul on the half-way line by Florenzi that goes unpunished by the ref, they really have down to a fine art the Italians.. Suddenly Lucas Vazquez (on for Morata) is through... Offside.
71'| Buffon nearly punches Aduriz' head clean off his shoulders, the Ramos wins the corner but heads wide. All Spain at the mo'.
69'| Spain work a good chance, Iniesta steps over it and Aduriz tries to curl it in Buffon's right. Just wide.
67'| Is there a better team in the world with a 1-0 lead than Italy? Ok, Atletico Madrid, but anyone else?
65'| Italy retreat so quickly and have 8 players behind the ball by the time Spain work the ball from left to right to Juanfran, Spain struggling to find any chinks in this bright blue armour.
62'| How did Spain escape that! Silva clattered De Sciglio, Italy worked it into the box with clinical efficiency, a low cross went under De Gea, clipped off his heel and came through two Italian players to a Spaniard. How?
60'| Morata tries to lob Buffon from the D, but gets it all wrong. Both sides creating chances, great pace and intensity to this one.
57'| Silva feeds Juanfran again and his cross in met by Aduriz who was hip-checked while he jumped, fell awkwardly and on landing saw the ref had given nothing again. Painful.
56'| De Gea keeps Spain in it! What a save from a one-one one...
55'| Pelle gets a yellow for a trailing arm on Fabregas, then fouls again, Spain shouts for red, but the ref appeals for calm. De Rossi slammed a bottle of water against the bench, furious at being taken off..
54'| De Rossi off for Thiago Motta.
50'| Spain pressing consistently, first Piqué hooked one goalwards, then Cesc Fabregas tried one from long range.. over.
48'| Bonucci handles a Juanfran cross, which leads to two crosses into the middle, the first is dealt with, the second finds Morata with a free header, but there's free out, Morata can't believe it's gone against him.
46'| Italy kick off the second half and apply the pressure early, Spain back on the ball, they'll need to have more urgency and accuracy if they are to trouble the Italians.
Italy are 1-0 up at half-time and you can't say they don't deserve to be. They pressed Spain high up the pitch and ensured Del Bosque's men couldn't settle; and when Italy won the ball they straight onto the attack and caused the Spanish defence all sorts of problems. Overall it didn't help Spain's cause that they looked like they'd prefer to be having a siesta than fighting for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.
Chiellini got the goal, racing in and slamming a rebound home from Eder's well struck and well blocked free-kick.
Can Del Bosque come up with a cunning plan at half-time to change things around?
Half-time! Italy 1-0 Spain
45'| DE GEA! Saves from Giacherini! That's a quality save. Uses his other hand to tip away one that was going in the top corner.
44'| Florenzi down the right and he should have done better, puts it too close to De Gea with men coming into the box. Spain breath a big sigh of relief.
42'| Possession: Italy 47% - 53% Spain. But Italy been in control all half.
40'| Nolito booked for a nasty one on De Rossi. Spaniard looks off colour this afternoon, takes his frustration out on De Rossi's ankle.
38'| Cesc gives the ball away at the end of a nice Spanish move, and Italy hare away on the break again. Ramos gets back to cover, but Spain are living dangerously.
37'| Big punch to a corner from Buffon. Solid.
35'| Spain win a free-kick. Silva over it, but it's a long way out... Silva chips it too high over the top, Ramos running through gives it a ninja leap, but he can't get anywhere near it.
33'| Spain have looked off the pace all afternoon and they were so slow to react to the free-kick being saved. Three Italians there first and they took full advantage. Will the goal wake Spain up?? Italy 1-0 Spain.
32'| GOAL! ITALY! Eder batters the free-kick in, De Gea saves, but Chiellini fires the rebound home. Not undeserved.
31'| Ramos fouls Pellé in a very dangerous spot just at the top of the D. 22 metres out.
30'| Still 0-0. Italy have had the better chances and are mostly controlling this as they want to.
29'| Ramos' shin to the rescue! He clears from in front of goal. He didn't know much about that. Another decent move down the left from Italy, ball swung in and Ramos just swings desperately at it. Could have ended up in the top corner, but the Real Madrid man gets away with it.
27'| Spain start moving, string some passes together and Alba wins a corner out on the left. It falls to Iniesta who has a dig from outside the box, but it's tame and doesn't trouble Buffon.
25'| Morata down as Parolo goes into him leading with the elbow. Nasty and looked pretty deliberate from the replays. Italian gets away with just the foul and a stern word from Çakir.
24'| PAROLO! Gets his head on a dangerous cross and it flashes wide. Italy, as expected, so dangerous when they get a fast break.
23'| De Sciglio booked! Tug on Juanfran and the Turkish ref is straight over to brandish the card.
22'| Ramos tumbles under the atttentions of Chiellini in the box as Iniesta floats a diagonal ball in and HE WANTS A PENALTY. He doesn't get one. Didn't look much like one either.
20'| A tiny bit better from Spain, moving up near the Italian's box, but Alba's final ball is woeful... straight over the top and out.
19'| Nolito down the left, gets the ball across and Cesc has a shot! A shot that goes straight into a defender, but a shot!
18'| Spain struggling to get the ball over the half-way line. Great pressure from the Italians. And at any point Conte's side look like they could nick the ball and launch a dangerous move.
17'| Morata jumps and lands on Chiellini's ankle, neatly taking his boot off. The Italian gets up understandably grumpy.
15'| Alba and Nolito getting annoyed with each other on the left wing. Things not going smoothly for Spain at the moment. Still 0-0 though.
13'| Silva with a neat ball in behind the defence and Alba is NEARLY onto it, but it skids away off the wet turf and out.
12'| Italy very comfortable here, Spain creating nothing. Italians aren't letting Del Bosque's men get into the game.
11'| Giacherinni! Overhead kick saved onto the post by De Gea! Ah, but Çakir blows for dangerous play. Which it was from the Italian.
9'| Piqué clears the resulting corner with a solid header.
8'| What a save De Gea!! Pellé got his head on the free-kick in but De Gea dived to his left and tipped it round the post!
7'| Juanfran fouls Eder out on the left. Ramos has a big old protest but to no avail.
5'| Italy pushing up high when Spain have the ball, and as Spain lose the ball a half-chance falls to Eder, but he can't do anything with it.
4'| All rather cagey now. Spain probing and probing. Nolito nearly breaks through into the box on the left, but he slips at the vital moment. A lot of slipping happening out there.
3'| Eder almost released through the middle for Italy, but he slips on the sodden turf and that's it for that attack. Looked like Piqué and Ramos probably had him covered anyway.
2'| It's bucketing it down in the Stade de France, Ramos has signalled he'd like his wet weather boots.
1'| Italy move the ball smartly down the left, but the final ball is straight to De Gea, who clasps it gratefully.
Spain get us underway!
Spain: De Gea; Juanfran, Ramos, Piqué, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Iniesta, Cesc, Silva, Nolito and Morata
Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, De Sciglio; Eder, Pelle
Preview of Italy vs Spain: Last 16 of Euro 2016
This is an historic, classic duel between two of the most illustrious sides in Europe: the powerful, organised Italians who are difficult to break down or shake up against Spain, the team that likes to play "beautiful" football, with lots of delicate touches and who are, of course, the current holders of the title.
After a burst of lovely play - as well as the key results - against the Czech Republic and Turkey, the positive red glow around La Roja was somewhat dimmed in their defeat to Croatia which condemned them to the toughest possible route to a third consecutive final.
This route starts with Italy, with World Champìons Germany next up, and it would indeed be the most impressive of the title if they were to pull it off. Vicente del Bosque has much to do just to get through this first real test both in terms of playing style and in strengthening the minds of his troops. But he is confident he will.
This confidence extends to De Gea in goal and with the security in front of him with Piqué, Ramos and Busquets. Creativity abounds in midfield with Iniesta, Silva and Cesc and control of the ball and the play is key. Use of the hard-working Morata and Nolito up top, supported by Alba and Juanfran on the flanks is still expected to be a successful approach but as a team they must be wary of the counter as Perisic reminded them all too painfully.
Italy return to a place they feel they belong, with the elite, and have a renewed belief in their current foot soldiers especially those that clinched top spot in the group by winning their opening two games. The fringe players that were brought in for the Ireland loss are unlikely to keep their places for the Spanish battle.
Manager, Conte, has a thurst for revenge against La Roja who have hurt them in recent tournaments. The backbone of the side made up of Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Rossi, Pellé and Eder, is solid and efficient. Their objective is to win Euro 2016 and a victory over current holders and, until recently, favourites for the trophy would get others to take their candidacy seriously.