Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,
 
1 vs 1
Played
June 10, 2012 12:00 PM EDT
PGE Arena Gdańsk — Gdańsk
Referee:‬ V. Kassai‎
Attendance:‬ 38869‎
 
Top of the Match
Daniele De Rossi
Daniele De Rossi
Italy
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Spain
Flop of the Match
Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli
Italy
Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli
Italy

Spain 1-1 Italy: Fabregas spares holders' blushes

The Barcelona midfielder replied almost immediately after Antonio Di Natale's strike on the hour mark to earn La Furia Roja a valuable point in the opening match of Group C

By Livio Caferoglu

Italy and Spain have begun their respective Euro 2012 campaigns with an absorbing 1-1 draw on Sunday to kick off the action in Group C.

Antonio Di Natale drew first blood for the Azzurri on 60 minutes, coming straight off the substitutes' bench to put his side ahead, but only four minutes later, Cesc Fabregas ensured their opening day ended with a share of the spoils in Gdansk.

The headline news that preceded the match was the inclusion of Cesc Fabregas as the man who would be bestowed with leading the line for the Spaniards in a 'false No.9' role, ahead of recognized strikers Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente.

Meanwhile, coach Cesare Prandelli went with a 3-5-2 formation, with Daniele De Rossi lining up in defense. Emanuele Giaccherini was also given his maiden bow for the Azzurri at left wing back, and he did no harm to his case for a starting role in the future.

Predictably, inside the first 10 minutes, Spain set its stall, as Italy was put on the back foot. La Roja threatened to impose its tiqui-taca style in the early stages, but la Nazionale's wall at the back refused to be beaten, lead by Daniele De Rossi.

Soon after, the first chance of the game fell to David Silva, as the Roma man's mistimed tackle saw the ball fall to Andres Iniesta, who then laid a pass off for the diminutive Manchester City star. However, his attempt was easily saved by Gianluigi Buffon.

However, the move proved an impetus for Italy, who suddenly hit back on 13 minutes with an Andrea Pirlo freekick. Mario Balotelli's feint allowed the Juventus playmaker to step up and curl an attempt to the right of Iker Casillas, but the goalkeeper parried away.

From there on, Italy gained momentum. Antonio Cassano was next up, collecting Claudio Marchisio's through ball, but his shot in the box went just wide of the far post with Casillas beaten. Then, the midfielder fired a powerful volley at goal, which was ultimately saved.

Spain seemed to have suddenly lost its cutting edge, but with Iniesta on the ball, it could never be discounted. Italy continued to look more purposeful in its play, but La Roja came steaming back through the Barcelona man, who saw his lobbed effort go just over.

But Italy would have rued its luck, as Christian Maggio ventured on another lung-bursting foray down the right, before crossing the ball on the head of an incoming Thiago Motta, but the Brazil-born midfielder's header was crucially stopped by Casllas.

No changes were witnessed during the break, but Spain came quick off the blocks. Within moments of the restart saw Xavi smash a powerful effort from the edge of the box, but Buffon was again equal, this time diving to his right to beat the ball away.

Iniesta was quick to fire yet another attempt at the Juventus No.1 from distance, but a moment of madness saw Balotelli through on goal with the box gaping, but he wanted far too much time with the ball and was eventually dispossessed by Sergio Ramos.

Prandelli subsequently hauled the temperamental forward off for Antonio Di Natale, who in a matter of minutes since his introduction, superbly latched onto Pirlo's floated through pass and curled an emphatic finish past Casillas on the hour mark.

However, just four minutes later, Spain took advantage of some uncertain defensive play by the Azzurri, as neat link-up play between Iniesta and Silva saw Fabregas not picked up by Giaccherini, as he ghosted into the box to coolly net to restore parity.

With only 20 minutes remaining saw yet more opportunities fluffed. Substitute Fernando Torres capitalized on a failed offside trap, but his one-on-one with Buffon ended with the custodian putting a foot in to win the ball back.

Moments later, Sebastian Giovinco scooped up a delightful pass into the path of Di Natale, who drifted in behind Gerard Pique in the danger area, but he could not connect with the ball as he would have liked, seeing his effort loop just wide of the target.

Torres then was gifted with another opportunity to prove his critics wrong right at the end, but he hesitated in another one-on-one with Buffon, seeing his chip over the goalkeeper go harmlessly over to keep both sides tied after the first game of the tournament.

Follow GOAL.COM USA on



Spain

1
Iker Casillas
Goalkeeper
3.00
4
Sergio Ramos
Defender
2.50
17
Arbeloa
Defender
84′
2.00
18
Jordi Alba
Defender
66′
2.00
3
Piqué
Defender
2.50
8
4.00
6
Xavi
Midfielder
3.50
4
Cesc Fàbregas
Midfielder
64′ 74′
3.50
14
Xabi Alonso
Midfielder
3.00
16
Busquets
Midfielder
2.50
21
David Silva
Midfielder
64′ 65′
3.00

Italy

3.50
1
3.50
3
3.50
19
3.00
11
3.50
8
Thiago Motta
Midfielder
90′
3.00
8
2.50
23
4.00
16
3.50
21
Andrea Pirlo
Midfielder
60′
2.00
45
3.00
99

Substitutes

1
 - 
25
Pepe Reina
Goalkeeper
 - 
33
 - 
20
Juanfran
Midfielder
 - 
8
Javi Martínez
Midfielder
 - 
19
Santi Cazorla
Midfielder
 - 
15
 - 
7
Pedro
Striker
 - 
9
2.00
9
Negredo
Striker
 - 
8
Juan Mata
Striker
 - 
14
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
30
 - 
26
 - 
5
 - 
42
 - 
20
 - 
15
 - 
18
 - 
-
 - 
-
3.50
10
 - 
31
3.00
12

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Fernando Torres Fernando Torres
Striker
Chelsea
3 0
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
3 0
Mario Gomez Mario Gomez
Striker
Fiorentina
3 0
Mario Balotelli Mario Balotelli
Striker
Milan
3 0
Mario Mandzukic Mario Mandzukic
Striker
FC Bayern München
3 0