Euro 2016; Spain vs Italy… Live

by | Jun 27, 2016

Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to the first of our two matches from Euro 2016 today, perhaps the most keenly awaited of all of these second round matches. This is, of course, a repeat of the final of four years ago, when Spain demolished Italy with a performance that was probably the peak of that team’s powers. In 2016, however, Spain are probably not quite as strong as that team was and predicting an easy victory for them isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion, and that’s before we even move onto the question of why these two teams are playing each other so early in the competition in the first place.

Italy started the tournament with possibly the most comprehensively excellent performance of any team in the first round of group matches, albeit one that came against a Belgium team that was playing as though they’d only just met each other. They have all the experience in the world, but their defeat at the hands of Ireland in their final group match – although a result that came about with a team very different to that which will be starting this evening – showed up potential frailties in the depth of their squad. Can they pick up where they left off against Belgium and Sweden?

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Mark June 27, 20166:59 pm

Thoroughly deserved. Makes Ireland look good, eh? (No). It was a good second half, though. “It should have been 2 or 3 nil” says a discombobulated Vialli. Italy celebrations include some hanging off the crossbar reminiscent of Scotland fans v England at Wembley in 1977 (and Hibs fans v Rangers at this year’s Scottish Cup Final). “We realise our limitations” says Vialli. But there aren’t many on this form. An enjoyable encounter, eventually. Croatia/Portugal first half. Belgium/Hungary second half.

Now for the “fet accomplay” of England v Iceland. TTFN.

Edward June 27, 20166:53 pm

Still, you can’t fault a Germany-Italy match. Italy were superb. Spain very much less so. It’s hard to look beyond the winner of their quarter final as the favourites to win the tournament. Mainly because they will.

Mark June 27, 20166:52 pm

Chiellini lets out two effects-mic friendly yelps as the innocent-looking Silva treads on him. And there an end. 2-0 Italy.

Edward June 27, 20166:52 pm

Italy will be particularly delighted, as Germany never, ever, beat them.

Mark June 27, 20166:51 pm

Yeah. But that’s not how it happened. Its TWO-nil for a start.

Similar finish to Pelle’s goal against Belgium. The deflection on Darmian’s cross sets it up nicely, although Pelle could have blown it in from that distance. Buffon’s save from Pique. Pivotal moment. Italy/Germany awaits. Buffon will be particularly delighted.

Edward June 27, 20166:50 pm

“55 minutes of back-to-the-wall defending and a 90th minute winner on the break” – ME, 55 MINUTES AGO.

Mark June 27, 20166:49 pm

Two-nil!! Pelle volley. Eeeek!

Mark June 27, 20166:48 pm

“Gianluigi Buffon, one of the greats,” says Wilson as the right-wing keeper denies Pique. Rubbish shot actually. But Spain are REALLY pressing now. Time’s up. Four minutes stoppo. Minimum.

Mark June 27, 20166:47 pm

Darmian’s first touch is his nose to the ground after Fabregas imagines touching him on the edge of the box. I could have phrased that a deal better. Booking for sub Thiago Motta, who misses the quarter-final. He actually whacked Busquets in the face.

Edward June 27, 20166:47 pm

“It’s been a fascinating game”, opines Danny Murphy. The five words you absolutely do NOT want to hear at a football match.

Mark June 27, 20166:45 pm

Pedro eyes Brussels with a shot from 20 yards. Three left.

Edward June 27, 20166:43 pm

Matteo Darmian coming on for Italy. The latest indignity to befall Spain.

Mark June 27, 20166:43 pm

Florenzi off for Man United’s Darmian. That IS defensive…although some Man Yoo fans may have a different view. De Gea saves a firm Insigne effort, though it would have needed some athleticism to get out of the way. Five left plus stoppo.

Edward June 27, 20166:41 pm

Aduriz makes way for Pedro, the second substituted sub in the last 24 hours of this European Championship.

Mark June 27, 20166:40 pm

Pedro for Aduriz. The sub is subbed. And limps off, possibly because he IS injured (it would explain a bit) but possibly to hide his embarrassment. Italy replace Eder for Insignificant Insigne. A defensive move, critics (like me) may argue. 83 gone.

Edward June 27, 20166:38 pm

Spain have been all over Italy for the last quarter of an hour. However, Italian defending is made of sterner stuff.

Mark June 27, 20166:37 pm

“Pedro is going to come on for Spain” says Wilson, the sub-text being “he’s in the Premier League, he must be good.” 11 minutes left.

Mark June 27, 20166:36 pm

Buffon tips over a, wait for it, LEFT-FOOT volley from Iniesta, hit with as much frustrated anger as anything else. Then Buffon blocks a, wait for it, LEFT-FOOT PILEDRIVER from Pique. Expect a silky run past five defenders from Ramos any minute…and for Aduriz to blast Ramos’s cross halfway to Belgium…

Mark June 27, 20166:33 pm

Vasquez hits the post when clean through ten yards out. He’s as offside and he’s relieved that he’s offside.

Conte whacks a stray ball into the ionosphere for no obvious reason. “Jose who?” think Chelsea fans everywhere.

Mark June 27, 20166:32 pm

And there was me thinking I was struggling for words and using the prefix “semi” to mask my linguistic inadequacies.

Edward June 27, 20166:30 pm

Semi-slick is the new fluent. It also serves as a useful description of Gabby Logan’s French.

Mark June 27, 20166:29 pm

Aduriz, bloody hell. He fires a good chance wide with his left-foot after a semi-slick move. Real Madrid’s Vasquez is now his strike partner, replacing “Shoulders” Morata. 20 mins left. Spain pressing. And Ramos heads satisfyingly wide from a corner. Italy increasingly reliant on breaks. But that might not be a bad plan.

Edward June 27, 20166:27 pm

Apparently, Giaccherini – a player who spent last season on loan because he couldn’t get a game at Sunderland – is wanted by Conte for his Chelsea revolution. Football. Bloody hell.

Mark June 27, 20166:25 pm

Italy have committed 14 fouls to Spain’s 11. By the way.

Italy’s front players are moving at 90 miles per hour, Spain’s defenders are at 90 kilometres per hour. And when you remember that Graziano Pelle is Italy’s number nine that is some indictment on Pique and Ramos. But while it’s still 1-0 etc…

Edward June 27, 20166:25 pm

When a team is up against it, the national character of that team often comes out. For Spain, their standard response is to pass it. Italy elect to foul it. England, generally, lose it.

Edward June 27, 20166:23 pm

Giaccherini is trying to revolutionise chucking in a floater to a level that may only be seen under an electron microscope. He chips the ball meekly into De Gea’s arms.

Edward June 27, 20166:21 pm

Good lord. That was magnificently gormless, from all involved.

Edward June 27, 20166:20 pm

You see, this is phase one of the Bite Their Players strategy I recommended.

Mark June 27, 20166:20 pm

It should be two-nil. Italy have a man over but choose four wrong options in three situations. “I thought Eder should have shot himself,” says Murphy. Bit harsh.

Mark June 27, 20166:18 pm

Pique elbows Eder in the rib cage and then stamps on it for good measure. The referee, “anxious to let the game flow”, gives nothing. The Italians are NOT happy. Lively stuff to come, I suspect.

Mark June 27, 20166:16 pm

Aduriz heads over and crash-lands on his hip from about ten feet in the air. “Come on, you’re one down” says an unsympathetic Murphy, although he apologises after he sees the replay. In fact, Aduriz got up so high he’s being treated for a nose bleed.

Edward June 27, 20166:16 pm

The only Italian player not now on a booking is sat in the BBC studio down the road.

Edward June 27, 20166:15 pm

Remember when Danny Murphy was a breath of fresh air in the co-commentator’s position? What happens to them up there? I can only assume it must be airborne.

Mark June 27, 20166:14 pm

No, I’ve no clue, either.

Mark June 27, 20166:14 pm

Italy’s Pelle booked for…absolutely nothing. Then he’s nearly booked again. And THEN, De Gea to the rescue again. Eder clean through, right-foot, blocked. Turning point? Pivotal moment? Delay of the inevitable?

Edward June 27, 20166:13 pm

Thiago Motta is coming on, in order to help trick the watching world into thinking this is Brazil. Pelle and Eder already being in attendance.

Mark June 27, 20166:12 pm

Thiago Motta on for the dischuffed-looking De Rossi. Buffon and Chiellini were giving out to him as the players walked off for half-time and he still looked upset at that. But he must be injured ‘cos he’s played OK.

Mark June 27, 20166:10 pm

A Fabregas free-kick whipped into the box causes Italian confusion. Meanwhile, a reply of Morata’s chance shows that he got a far better connection on his marker than his chance – hauling down the former before shouldering the latter.

Edward June 27, 20166:10 pm

Ah, an insight there into the bold strategic approach Spain have settled on after a half-time consultation. Diving to try and get a penalty. Could work.

Edward June 27, 20166:09 pm

The size of the number on the Spanish players’ shorts is far too big. I love it.

Mark June 27, 20166:08 pm

And, right on cue…er…Spain’s Morata heads straight at the previously under-employed Buffon from six yards. A better chance than all but two of Italy’s.

Mark June 27, 20166:05 pm

But not a Spain improvement just yet. All Italy for the first couple of minutes and some Billy Smart’s Circus defending from Ramos and Co. Especially Ramos. 🙂

Edward June 27, 20166:04 pm

Good to know that Gabby Logan’s French hasn’t been altered in any way by spending the last fortnight in France. This is the pluck of the island race.

Mark June 27, 20166:04 pm

So. Can Spain be as bad again? I asked that question of France yesterday and the answer was “sod it, no.” I suspect it is “no” again. Aduriz for Nolito “up top” for the Spanish. And I think that’s an improvement.

Mark June 27, 20166:00 pm

Not destroying my point, Gabby Logan says that an England win over Iceland is not a “fet accomplay.” Martin Keown sticks his neck out. No idea what he said. I haven’t cared about that since…forever. But he DID stick his neck out. And it looked painful.

Mark June 27, 20165:53 pm

An Italian, a Belgian and a Frenchman, having a credible tactical discussion in their second (maybe third) language about that first-half (Vialli hasn’t quite lost his London/Watford accent). A wonderful product of the free movement of labour across the EU. Such a pity that Mark Lawrenson, Robbie Savage and Alan Shearer will not be able to earn their living on the continent after last Thursday’s vote….OK…bad examples…

Mark June 27, 20165:49 pm

But Spain will not be competing for another 15 minutes. 1-0 Italy at half-time and they…THEY have been good. “Which is Italy, which is Spain?” a confused but delighted Gianluca Vialli notes in the BBC studio.

Edward June 27, 20165:49 pm

Italy have, once again, reminded everyone the exact discipline required for tournament football. Just as they failed to do, with typical Italian brilliance, at the World Cup two years ago.

Edward June 27, 20165:47 pm

Presumably at some stage, the Spanish team will come onto the field and start to compete.

Mark June 27, 20165:47 pm

De Gea saves a Giaccherini right-foot semi-screamer. If you are still watching, Ed, Italy have been very watchable indeed as half-time approaches. One minute stoppo.

Edward June 27, 20165:45 pm

It is times like these when you realise that the real genius of the FIFA video game series is that they only play five minutes per half. And it is always plenty.

Mark June 27, 20165:44 pm

Costa Rica didn’t need to do it.

Nice Iniesta-inspired passing move but it breaks down when the Barcelona star looks for Dani Alves on the right flank and sees nothing but the green, green grass of international football. Murphy thinks Iniesta is playing well. And he sort if is, But its more a case of hairstyle solidarity, methinks.

Edward June 27, 20165:43 pm

If we learned anything from the 2014 World Cup (and we didn’t), it is that if you want to overcome Italy you need to start biting their players.

Mark June 27, 20165:40 pm

38 minutes gone and Spain have been appalling. Not even as good as Brazil 2014.

Mark June 27, 20165:38 pm

But its “very watchable”, Ed. Wilson said so. Mind you, he’d probably think it was boring if it was on ITV

Edward June 27, 20165:38 pm

Here comes 55 minutes of backs-to-the-wall defending, capped off by a 90th minute winner on the break.

Edward June 27, 20165:37 pm

However, good news for Spain from Centre Court, as Garbine Muguruza establishes a final set break of serve against Italy’s Camila Giorgi. Sorry, I told you I was bored.

Mark June 27, 20165:37 pm

Eder whacks a free-kick (just like his Brazil namesake of old…what did I tell you? – ahem). De Gea saves but spills it. Giaccherini comes flying in on the rebound and is sent flying by De Gea. But before anyone can contemplate a red card, the ball squirms to Chiellini who bundles it in. “Silly free-kick to give away by Ramos” says Murphy, completing the joy of the event.

Mark June 27, 20165:34 pm

Italy 1-0 Chiellini.

Mark June 27, 20165:34 pm

“Every country, every league, every level…and probably every age-group” says Wilson of shirt-pulling, over-anxious to avoid stereotyping. Doesn’t happen much in the Isthmian League, Steve.

Mark June 27, 20165:32 pm

“A very watchable half-an-hour” says Wilson, obviously not on Edward’s wavelength (or, to a small extent, mine).

Mark June 27, 20165:31 pm

Ramos inches away from the most popular goal of the tournament, slicing De Sciglio’s cross inches over and looking ungainly-and-a-half in doing so.

Edward June 27, 20165:29 pm

I’m bored. This game is boring.

Mark June 27, 20165:27 pm

“You don’t need to be Italian to pull shirts,” apologises Wilson for momentarily slipping into stereotype-mode. Don’t worry, Steve. We’re out of the EU. WE can say what we like about these dodgy foreigners. Apparently. bloodybrexit

Parolo heads wide after a good Italy counter. Conte reacts with what started out as a w***er sign before turning into something Italian JUST in time.

Mark June 27, 20165:24 pm

So. Is this going to be like Foreman v Ali? Ali giving it the big ‘un in the first round, looking scared as sh*t when it doesn’t work and then… Italy on the ropes until the last ten minutes?

“Ramos goes down rather easily…as he sometimes does,” notes Murphy, with appropriate cynicsm.

Mark June 27, 20165:21 pm

Or what Mauro Tassotti’s shirt would have looked like after meeting Luis Enrique’s elbow late in the Spain/Italy game that year, had Italy worn white

“Yes that is hard to take,” says Danny Murphy of Italian manager Conte’s defeats on penalties and by golden goal in World Cup and Euro finals as an Italian player. Always good to hear Murphy speaking from his considerable personal experience.

Fabregas has a well-struck shot blocked as Spain wake up.

Edward June 27, 20165:19 pm
Friend of the show, Uncle Graham Sibley from The Sound of Football Podcast, is in attendance this afternoon. Enjoying the weather. strongerin

Edward June 27, 20165:17 pm

The Spain kit reminds me of the sort of thing they might have worn at the 1994 World Cup, the last time they lost to Italy in a competitive international.

Mark June 27, 20165:14 pm

“Come on Spain. Join in!!”

Edward June 27, 20165:14 pm

Well, this is the thing. Italy are using their time-honoured tactic of going out all guns blazing to try and run up a lead before defending it like god damn bastards.

Mark June 27, 20165:13 pm

If they ever get within 50 yards of the man action. De Gea pushes another shot onto the post but Giaccherini’s shot is deemed dangerous play.

Edward June 27, 20165:11 pm

It will be interesting to see how the Italian back three, all on a booking, will deal with this match. They are, after all, deprived of their fundamental go-to tactic, fouls.

Mark June 27, 20165:10 pm

Pelle header, fine De Gea save. VERY fine. Blimey! Pelle outjumping Sergio Busquets, the luckiest semi-talentless midfielder in world football – club and international

Mark June 27, 20165:08 pm

And right on cue, Eder’s control (“best described as air-traffic”, as was once said of Steve Bull) brings a swift end to an Italian sortie. Good start for Italy, though.

Edward June 27, 20165:08 pm

Meanwhile, a Germany v Spain quarter final at the weekend would be notable for being between two teams where the captain can’t even get into the first eleven.

Mark June 27, 20165:07 pm

And on that subject, ish, after Immobile and Insignifice in their last game, Italy’s front line can only be an improvement. But every time Eder gets on the ball, I bring to mind Brazil’s Eder from the 1980s side and think “change your name, mate.”

Edward June 27, 20165:05 pm

Italy have eight players on one yellow card. There’s a chance they could have to try and face Germany next Saturday with the squad that started the match against the Republic of Ireland.

Mark June 27, 20165:04 pm

Woooh. Rain you can see on the cameras. As if the pitches weren’t slippery enough at this tournament.

Mark June 27, 20165:02 pm

Yes. When he was so heart-warmingly congratulating Martin O’Neill after the Italy/Ireland game, I couldn’t help thinking “pity he’s a Nazi.”

PS: I hate this bloody countdown too…

Edward June 27, 20165:00 pm

Gianluigi Buffon there, the player who feels that the UK didn’t go far enough.

Mark June 27, 20164:59 pm

I know there are no words to Spain’s national anthem. But their fans seem to make some noise during it – whatever the Spanish for “lalala” is, presumably. So the team’s stony-faced silence is a bit disappointing. Especially alongside the genuinely stirring Italian two-parter. Italian fans signing this alongside a stirring rendition of Amrhan na Fhiann at Craven Cottage in 2013 is a memory which will live long for me.

Edward June 27, 20164:58 pm

Spain’s National Anthem going down like a cup of cold sick at the Stade de France, which makes you wonder just what is in store for England later.

Mark June 27, 20164:53 pm

Italian manager Antonio Conte has wielded the axe after the Azzurri’s crushing defeat to a rampant Irish side…wait…what?…oh… Well, despite qualifying for the knock-out stages early, Spain’s displays in France have had more in common with Brazil in 2014 than Euro 2012. I watched Spain/Czech Republic “as live” before they played Turkey and was surprised at how little they created with so much possession and how much the Czechs created with so little. It didn’t look like the game about which I’d read.

So it isn’t just a deep-seated dislike for the perma-arrogant Sergio Ramos which makes me lean towards Italy this afternoon and their Juventus back line which is the closest in spirit and accomplishment to the old catenaccio (“door-bolt”) defence of Italy/Internazionale in the 60s and 70s. I mean, imagine a defence including Ramos and Portugal’s preposterous Pepe. How hated would THAT team be…oooh…hang on.

Not by much, admittedly, but I’m expecting/dreading more “Croatia/Portugal” than “Hungary/Belgium.”

Edward June 27, 20164:31 pm

The bogeyman cometh. Italy and Spain have been tearing strips off of one another for decades, but lately the team from the Iberian peninsula have firmly assumed the upper hand.. Spain summarily destroyed Italy in the 2012 European Championship final, and also beat them on penalties in the quarter final in 2008. In fact, Italy have not beaten Spain in a competitive international for 22 years, since Baggios Dino and Roberto scored the goals in a 2-1 quarter final win at the 1994 World Cup in Boston, MA.

Of course, if Italy do manage to get this particular monkey off their back this afternoon, Germany await the winner. And no team in international football is more of a bugbear than Italy are for the Germans. It’s a congested scene, one riven with possibilities and intrigue. Top hole, what what? Here are the teams for today:

ITALIA Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; De Rossi; Florenzi, Parolo, Giaccherini, Di Sciglio; Pelle, Eder.
ESPAÑA De Gea; Juanfran, Pique, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Fabregas, Iniesta; Silva, Morata, Nolito.