Spain in the round of 16 after dominant 1-0 win against Italy

Spain in the round of 16 after dominant 1-0 win against Italy
Spain in the round of 16 after dominant 1-0 win against Italy

Dominant Spaniards defeated the defending champions.

By the second European Championship appearance at the latest, Spain had become one of the top favourites for the title: the three-time European champions dominated Italy with a 1-0 win, thus securing their place in the round of 16 and first place in Group B. But it was also clear what could slow the Spaniards down: given the abundance of chances, the yield was far too low, and the winning goal was an own goal.

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Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma kept the Italians in the game for a long time. Three years ago he was the hero on the way to the European Championship title in the semi-final against Spain: Back then he had saved Alvaro Morata’s attempt in the penalty shoot-out. In the Group B clash, the PSG goalkeeper’s saves were not enough. The 25-year-old intervened in shots from Pedri (2nd), Morata (24th) and Fabian Ruiz (25th), but Nico Williams himself failed to save the biggest chance: after a perfect cross from Morata, the Bilbao winger’s shot missed the goal (10th). Pedri also almost carelessly missed the first chance after the break (52nd).

Fifth European Championship own goal

It took an own goal by Riccardo Calafiori for the Spanish superiority to be put on the scoreboard: Morata headed on Williams’ sharp cross, Donnarumma deflected it a second time with his hand – Calafiori could no longer avoid it, and the ball bounced off his knee into the goal to make it 1-0 (55th minute). It was the fifth own goal of the tournament, in the 64 games of the 2022 World Cup there had only been two in total.

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With the lead behind them, the Spaniards really got going. The Italians took more risks, and the open spaces became Spain’s playground. Williams hit the crossbar (70′), and Donnarumma saved everything that flew towards the goal. What could be blamed on the Spaniards was that the Italians were hoping for a point until the final whistle. Donnarumma also stormed into the set pieces at the end, and there was no chance of equalizing, even with a crowbar.

For Spain, the second victory means that Monday’s final group match against Albania is now only of statistical value. Italy, on the other hand, needs at least one point in the parallel match against Croatia to secure a place in the round of 16.

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Source: Nachrichten

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