Euro 2024: ultra-dominant against Italy, Spain provides the essentials and validates its ticket for the round of 16

Euro 2024: ultra-dominant against Italy, Spain provides the essentials and validates its ticket for the round of 16

Nico Williams a donné le tournis à la défense italienne. EPA – CHRISTOPHER NEUNDORF

The highly anticipated duel between Italy and Spain did not really take place: La Roja, attractive and superior in all registers, left no chance for the Reigning European champions, outclassed 1-0, Thursday in Gelsenkirchen.

With two victories in two matches, Spain pocketed its ticket for the round of 16 of Euro-2024 and sent a strong message: guaranteed to finish at the top of the difficult group B, we will have to count on her to win a fourth European crown on July 14 in Berlin.

Luis de la Fuente's team stifled the Nazionale, who miraculously held on for almost an hour thanks to the saves of Gianluigi Donarumma, before cracking against two young, uninhibited wingers, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

At the end of a one-sided first period (9 Spanish shots including four on target, for a single Italian opportunity, off target, an attempt by Federico Chiesa in time additional), Luciano Spalletti tried an electroshock.

Calafiori against his side

He brought out Davide Frattesi and Jorginho, dominated by Pedri and Rodri in midfield, to replace them with Andrea Cambiaso and Bryan Cristante, with a much more physical register. It took more to disrupt the fine Spanish mechanics who ended up concretizing their clear domination in the 55th minute thanks to a new flash from Williams: after yet another overflow, his fleeing cross was propelled into his own goal by Riccardo Calafiori.

This goal and two new substitutions ended up slightly waking up Italy, in vain, who had lost their two previous duels with Spain (in the semi-finals of the League of nations 2021 and 2023).

Spalletti's Italy who had already lost their only match played against a nation in the world's top 10 (3-1 against England in Euro qualifiers -2024) completely failed its first test of importance. Spain is launched.

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