A largely dominant Spain were held to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup 2018 Group G qualifier in Turin as opponents Italy launched a late rally to deny Julen Lopetegui's side all three points.
Spain had taken a well deserved lead in the 54th minute when Vitolo rounded Buffon and slotted into an empty net. Until that point, La Roja were well in control of the game after holding the majority of possession and creating a host of unconverted chances in the first half.
However, going a goal behind seemed to stir something inside the hosts, who had largely been content to sit back, defend and hope to catch Spain on the break. Realising that that game plan was not going to work, the Azzurri changed tack and began to throw more into attack, with substitute Immobile adding much new impetus.
Although Spain still looked the better side, Italy continued to fight back and got what they will probably feel was a deserved penalty with ten minutes remaining as Sergio Ramos took down Eder in the box.
De Rossi cooly stepped up and sent David De Gea the wrong way from 12 yards, and then for the last ten minutes, it looked like Italy might turn the game on its head and secure the win.
It wasn't to be though, and both sides as the full-time whistle blew will likely be grateful to share a point.
As it happened:
Full time: Italy 1-1 Spain
90 (+3) | That's it. Full-time whistle goal and it finishes 1-1 here in Turin.
90 (+2) | Hang on! Spain awarded a freekick near the corner flag, one last chance? Silva stands over it but his delivery is weak and Italy clear.
90 mins | Three minutes added time to be played.
88 mins | Fair play to Italy, they've really bucked their ideas up and come well back into this after being completely dominated for 60 odd minutes. I did say earlier that their equaliser was undeserved but these last twenty minutes or so they've been the team playing with all the intensity. Can they get a winner?
86 mins | Goal Italy! No! Immobile had strayed offside before stabbing in. All of a sudden Italy look like winning this!
85 mins | Now it's a yellow for Pique who blocks De Rossi cynically.
84 mins | Goalscorer Vitolo makes way for Alcantara
81 mins | GOOOOAL ITALY! De Rossi takes a stuttering run-up and sends De Gea the wrong way. Was it penalty? Yes. Was it deserved? Probably not.
80 mins | PENALTY ITALY! Ramos takes out Eder, it's a stone waller! De Rossi to take....
78 mins | SUB | Parolo comes off, Belotti on.
77 mins | Yellow card for Sergio Ramos
74 mins | Spain really searching for what would be the killer goal now. It might have come from Silva their if his touch hadn't let him down at the last minute. Far from down and out though, Italy are looking more dangerous as this game goes on. It just makes you wonder why they didn't try this hard to do something before going 1-0 down?
71 mins | Immobile -- who's really made a difference since he came on -- breaks forward down the left and into the box. He tries to sell Pique a dummy and make space for a shot but the Barça centreback stands firm and blocks his advance.
66 mins | Oh that really should be 2-0! Koke plays Vitolo clean through and he has just Buffon to beat. He can only slide it two yards wide however when he had to hit the target.
64 mins | SUB: Costa is sacrificed for Morata, most likely to save him from receiving an almost inevitable second yellow card.
62 mins | Going a goal behind has definitely stirred something in Italy and they almost get back on level terms through Immobile. Florenzi guides in a vicious right-footed inswinger toward the danger area, the ball finds its way to the back post, and the substitute striker is just inches away from sliding it home. Let off for Spain.
60 mins | Back to the goal incident there and you have to say it's been coming for Lopetegui's side and was richly deserved on the base of play. Italy have responded well though and substitute Immobile is straight into the thick of it. His shot goes close but he was just offside.
57 mins | SUB: Pelle leaves the field and Immobile comes on in his place.
54 mins | GOOOOOOAL Vitolo! Busquets plays a lovely through ball for Vitolo to run onto. He has the pace on Bonucci and toes it around the onrushing Buffon who tries to intercept the pass by charging out of his box. Vitolo is left with the simple task of playing it into an empty net as an embarrassed Buffon holds his head in his hands on the turf.
51 mins | Iniesta slides it to Koke who finds himself in space on the right of the penalty area. The Atletico midfielder takes a touch, looks to feed it back to a red shirt but it's cut out for a corner. First real moment of danger there in the opening period of the second 45.
49 mins | Stat attack! As the clock turns to 49 minutes in this second half in Turin, I've been reliably informed that this is Sergio Busquets' 7000th minute in a Spain shirt in total. Impressive!
47 mins | Will we see a more adventurous Italy in this second half? Well Spain, as you might guess, are already reluctant to let their Mediterranean cousins see the any of the ball. And you can't really do much without that white, round leather thing, can you?
46 mins | Peeeeeeep! We're back underway in Turin
Italy 0-0 Spain: live updates (1st half)
A VERY one sides first half draws to a close and Spain will be disappointed not be going into the break in front. It's been one way traffic and Italy have rode their luck at times. La Roja had one or two opportunities to go in front, most notably from Pique. Italy on the other hand will need an improved showing, you feel, in the second half if they are to get something from this game, namely more precision on the rare occasions that they have the ball and a little bit more attacking intent. Spain, for their part, will just look to continue as they are: pile on the pressure and believe that something will ultimately give.
45 mins | HALF TIME: Italy 0-0 Spain
44 mins | Bonucci is at the heart of it again, but this time it's probably is a deserved booking for Spain and Costa. Bonucci clips the striker's heels and waits - almost expectantly - for Costa's notoriously stray arms to swing back and catch him in the face. Predictably, he makes the most of it and the yellow card comes out.
43 mins | Vitolo, rather puzzlingly, is booked for what looks like a nothing tussle with Bonucci.
41 mins | Italy have an obvious game plan: defend, defend, defend and try nick one on the break. Trouble is, if that's how you're going to play it, you need to be precise in the rare moments you have the ball. Italy are looking anything but. It's all a bit sloppy from them, they'll need much improved second half.
40 mins | Confirmation of the possession stats: 70% Spain to 30% Italy. I'm actually surprised, it feels like 90 to 10.
35 mins | Silva is really in the mood tonight. Barzagli falls over as he attempts to decipher where the floppy-haired maestro is going to go next, but recovers just in time to block his cross. Silva looks like Spain's biggest weapon so far.
32 mins | I'm not sure if Italy have strung five passes together yet. The trouble is when Italy eventually do steal the ball from Spain, who seem to have applied some sort of glue to their boots, they just give it back straight away,
28 mins | SUB: Bit of a break in play here as Montolivo receives treatment. He doesn't look good at all. It was Ramos who absolutely clattered into him. Montolivo is stretchered away and is replaced by Bonaventura. Let's hope it's nothing too serious.
25 mins | Yellow card for Busquets for pulling back Pelle.
24 mins | Pique again goes close. Again Koke is the provider with a cross from the right. He finds Ramos at the back post who cushions it across goal and Pique looks for all the world like he'll nod it home. Not enough power on it though from six yards and Buffon catches on the line.
21 mins | SUB: Alba limps off and Nacho replaces him.
19 mins | Pique! So close. Koke sends a delicious ball in from the right and Pique rises highest to head towards the corner. It looks like it might sneak in, but it takes a slight knick off Romagnoli and rolls a fraction wide.
15 mins | Spain continuing to dominate the possession and now beginning to create chances too. Looks ominous for Italy at the moment as they just can't seem to get a foothold here. That said, the Euro 2016 second round game started similarly, if I remember rightly. And we know what happened there.
13 mins | Silva goes past two defenders with some great footwork and fashions an opportunity from an angle. He gets his shot away but it's blocked by Bonucci just in time. That was beautiful from the Man City magician.
10 mins | Chance Iniesta! It's the first real opportunity of the game. The Barça man jinks his way past a defender, plays a neat one-two with Silva, and it opens up for him briefly as he dummies. It's a weak shot though from the edge of the box and Buffon saves easily.
7 mins | Diego Costa literally wipes the face of Bonucci with his hand as they come together, and the Italian defender goes down like a ton of bricks as if he's been walloped on the nose. You could say it was a bit of a "friendly throttle" from Costa, but nothing really in it, and the referee sees it that way too and keeps his cards in his pocket.
5 mins | Italy yet to really get their foot on the ball at all. They give away an attacking free kick which Koke will whip in, but it's cleared.
3 mins | It's attack versus defence here in the opening stages. Lots of sideways passes though from Spain so far, and no incision as of yet.
2 mins | Spain, as they tend to do, controlling the early possession. Iniesta, as he also tends to be, at the centre of it.
0 mins | Peeeeeeep! And we're underway in Turin. Game on.
Italy - Spain: starting lineups
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Montolivo, De Sciglio; Eder, Pelle.
De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Pique, Alba; Busquets, Koke, Iniesta; Vitolo, Costa, Silva.
Italy - Spain: latest news
20:43 | Italy have definitely won the battle of the anthems. While Spain's admittedly doesn't have any words, not may countries on earth could compete with the Italian national song. It's pure class. Now time for the game!
20:40 | The players make their way out after the customary back slaps and bum taps in the tunnel. Time for the anthems!
20:30 | Rojigualdas and Tricolores at the ready (depending on your preference)! 15 minutes till kick off, and the stadium announcer is doing his very best to work the crowd up into a frenzy by making very loud some noises over the tannoy (in Italian, of course)!
20:25 | The atmosphere is building here at the Juventus Stadium and legions of Azzurri blue are filing into the stands and raising the noise level. There's a good sprinkle of red in there too as well, which is nice to see. The players are out warming up on the field soaking it all up. Just 20 minutes to go now folks...
20:15 | The teams are out (see above) and there's no huge surprises from a Spain point of view: they line up exactly as we predicted here at AS English towers, in fact. It's rather tasty looking side too, you must say.
19:35 | Weather watch: It's a cold and cloudy night in Turin tonight with the temperature currently at 11*C and could drop as low as 8*C by the full time whistle. Chilly! That could be a bit of a shock to the system for many of Spanish squad, where temperatures on the Iberian peninsula are still hitting the mid-20s. I suppose that's the case for the Italians playing their football further south though, too.
19:30 | Odds watch: The bookies have Spain as favourites tonight, despite being the away side, and despite their 2-0 loss at the hands of the Italians only three months ago in Euro 2016. Paddy Power have La Roja at 29/20 and the Azzurri at 9/4.
19:15 | Referee watch: Tonight's man in the middle is Felix Brych. Most Spanish football fans will recognise Mr. Brych from his controversial decision to send off Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres in the Champions League semifinal last season against Bayern Munich.
18:31 | The Spanish u-21 lads had a comfortable night last night against San Marino but we're expecting their older counterparts to have a somewhat tougher task in Turin tonight.
18:08 | If you feel like watching the game while Aled takes you through the details with his gentle finger-tapping then we can provide you with a helpful guide to viewing options. De nada.
17:28 | With Uefa looking forward to the qualifiers in their region taking place tonight, here is their take on what you should be keeping an eye out for.
17:11 | As players focus on the international duty at hand for a week or so, officials back in the club offices are still working on maintaining their squads for the coming years.
16:18 | Gerard Piqué will be key to Spain's efforts to keep the Azzurri attack out tonight. Here are his thoughts ahead of the game, as the Barcelona man dismissed the notion of Italian football being overly defensive as a myth.
14:19 | Speaking to Spanish radio, Italian former Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello has looked ahead to tonight's clash - as well as offering his five cents' worth on Real's recent run of draws...
13:20 | If you fancy a flutter on tonight's game in Turin a draw will pay out at 2/1. For many bookmakers, Spain the slight favorites at 6/4. Italy, meanwhile, can be backed at 15/8.
12:30 | Joaquín Caparros, Marcelino, Paco Jémez, Pepe Mel and Radomir Antic explain how to break down a back line like Italy's ahead of tonight's game.
11:30 | A mouthwatering match in store in Turin this evening. Whilst the outcome won't be definitive, the winner of tonight's clash will be in pole position to secure the top and automatic WC 2018 place.
Italy vs Spain: World Cup 2018 qualifier preview
Just three months after coming face to face in the round of 16 at Euro 2016 where Italy progressed in the tournament thanks to a 2-0 win, "La Roja" and the "Azzurri" clash again tonight in a key game that will go some way in determining who tops Group G and hence secure an automatic ticket to Russia 2018.
The Italian side come into this evening's game on the back of a defeat to France (1-3) and a 3-1 win over en Israel (1-3) in their first qualifying match on the long road to Russia 2018. New coach Ventura will be looking to forget the reverse to Deschamps' side and evoke the spirit of Paris in June where Italy outplayed Del Bosque's side.
Following Antonio Conte's departure to Chelsea, substitute on the Italy bench Ventura has a style not to disimilar to his predecessor and will play a back three with the notable absence of key defender Giorgio Chiellini who is sanctioned for tonight's match.
Tonight's tie in Turin presents an opportunity for Spanish football to stake revenge following the Paris defeat and will no doubt be a different affair from the comfortable (8-0) win over Liechtenstein in the opening Group G qualifier in Leon. Tonight's game is the first real stern test for new coach Julen Lopetegui who has notched two wins in his spell as national coach after the Liechtenstein win which cafe after an impressive win away to Belgium in a friendly game.
The Basque coach is set to give Diego Costa a starting role as striker and will look for the Chelsea forward to cause problems for the Italian rear-guard.
Italy vs Spain live coverage:
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