Spain Secure Last 16 Spot with Victory Over Italy in Euro 2024

Spain vs Italy Euro 2024 match action with players in red and blue white jerseys on the field. Lamine Yamal

Spain booked their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2024 with a commanding yet hard-fought 1-0 victory over defending champions Italy. The match, held in a packed Veltins-Arena, saw Spain dominate proceedings, but it was a second-half own goal by Riccardo Calafiori that ultimately separated the two European giants.

Match Overview

Spain entered the game with confidence, having already won their opening match. From the outset, they showcased their trademark fluidity and creativity, crafting numerous scoring opportunities. Italy, known for their defensive resilience, relied heavily on the brilliance of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to keep the score level for much of the match.

The first half was a testament to Spain’s attacking prowess. Within the first two minutes, Pedri forced Donnarumma into a spectacular save, setting the tone for the half. Spain’s relentless pressure saw Fabian Ruiz and Alvaro Morata come close, but it was Nico Williams who stood out. The young forward headed wide from close range and later rattled the crossbar, much to the frustration of Spanish fans.

Italy, on the other hand, struggled to make any significant impact in the attacking third. They managed just three touches inside Spain’s penalty area and failed to register a shot on target, highlighting Spain’s defensive solidity.

The decisive moment occurred just past the hour mark. Alvaro Morata’s deft flick-on from a corner caused chaos in the Italian defense, leading to an unfortunate own goal by Riccardo Calafiori, who inadvertently kneeled the ball into his net. This moment of misfortune for Italy was the culmination of Spain’s persistent pressure.

Despite the setback, Italy couldn’t muster a meaningful response. Their counter-attacks were sporadic and needed more precision to trouble Spain’s well-organized backline. As the game progressed, Spain continued to dominate possession and created further chances, with Pedri and Morata again coming close.

Key Performers

  • Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy): The Italian goalkeeper was in sublime form, making several crucial saves that kept his team in the game.
  • Nico Williams (Spain): Despite not scoring, Williams was a constant threat down the wing, displaying impressive skill and tenacity.
  • Pedri (Spain): The midfield maestro controlled the tempo of the game, linking play effortlessly and coming close to scoring on multiple occasions.

What’s Next?

With two wins from two matches and no goals conceded, Spain has secured their spot in the last 16, showcasing their credentials as one of the tournament favorites. They will face Albania in their final group match, looking to maintain their perfect record.

Italy, though second best in this encounter, still has a chance to progress. They will need a strong performance against Croatia, a team that has consistently performed well on the world stage, to secure their place in the knockout rounds.

Also Read: England Miss chance to reach the last 16 after the Draw

Spain’s victory over Italy not only secured their advancement to the Euro 2024 knockout stages but also sent a message to the rest of the tournament. Their blend of youthful exuberance and experienced composure makes them a formidable opponent. As the competition heats up, fans can expect more thrilling performances from this talented Spanish side.