By Andy Jones
- Italy advance to quarter-final tie against Germany
- David De Gea starts in goal for Spain
- Matteo Darmian starts on the bench
In a true heavyweight clash, The holders Spain came up against a strong Italian side at the Stade De France.
Italy have been one of the surprise teams of this tournament. Unfancied at the start of the campaign, they have grown in strength as the competition developed.
With a vastly experienced back line as the teams base, the Italians proved their previous results were no fluke. David De Gea failed to hold a powerful free-kick in the 33rd minute, and Chiellini bundled home the opening goal.
For all Spain’s probing and passing, they didn’t have the cutting edge to break down the Italian resistance, and you must now wonder if Spain’s dominance of international football is now coming to an end.
Spain lack pace in the side, and a truly top class striker. Adruiz suffered the ultimate humiliation when he was substituted in the 81st minute. Despite only coming on himself in the 46th minute, and that is Spain’s problem in a nutshell.
De Gea made several world class saves to stop the Italians putting the game to bed, but was powerless to stop them in the 90th minute. As they counter attacked with pace, for Darmian to cross for Pelle to once again volley home.
Manager Antonio Conte celebrated wildly in the dugout, and gave a glimpse of what Chelsea fans can expect when the Premier League kicks off next month.
Italy had 11 shots during the match, testing De Gea with 7 of them, man of the match Bonucci said
I think today we put in a great performance in all respects, moving the ball about, working for the team, in defence and attack. We created lots of chances and offered very little to Spain.
Spain’s 8 year reign as European Champions is now over, for Italy, Germany now await in the quarter-finals.