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Spain national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 20, 2024 at 8pm UK
Italy national football team

1 - 0

Calafiori (55' og.)
Rodri (45+1'), Le Normand (69'), Carvajal (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Donnarumma (15'), Cristante (46')

Sublime Spain dispatch subpar Italy to seal last-16 berth at Euro 2024

Statement made: Spain dispatch Italy to seal last-16 berth
© Imago
Spain put in an impressive display to claim a narrow 1-0 victory over Italy and seal their place in the last 16 at Euro 2024.

Spain booked their spot in the last 16 of Euro 2024 with a much-deserved 1-0 victory over Italy in Gelsenkirchen.

Group B's second matchday pitted the reigning European champions against a Spain side looking to replicate the Euros success of 2008 and 2012.

The pattern of the contest was established from the off as Spain launched a relentless onslaught to pepper Italy's goal in the opening 25 minutes.

Pedri, Nico Williams, Alvaro Morata and Fabian Ruiz all threatened to break the deadlock in a dominant first period, but Italy ultimately stood firm to scrape through to half-time unscathed.

La Roja showed no signs of letting up, and their constant pressure ultimately told in the 55th minute when Riccardo Calafiori inadvertently sent the ball into his own net.

A second Spain goal appeared more likely than an Italy equaliser, but Luis de la Fuente's young guns had to settle for just a narrow victory which ensures that Spain will participate in the knockout rounds of a fifth consecutive European Championship.

Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma looks dejected after Riccardo Calafiori scores an own goal on June 20, 2024© Reuters

Williams and co pile pressure on Italy

Buoyed from their dominant 3-0 win over Croatia, Spain threatened to take the lead inside the opening two minutes in Gelsenkirchen.

Williams neatly worked the space to stand the ball up for Pedri to attack, but the midfielder was unable to get his head over the ball, giving Gianluigi Donnarumma the chance to tip over the bar.

Williams then spurned a glorious opportunity, sending his header wide from Morata's inch-perfect delivery from the left flank.

As the contest moved past the 20-minute mark, Morata found himself in more familiar territory, receiving the ball in the box before taking one touch too many, allowing Donnarumma to close the angle and make a strong near-post stop.

With Spain unable to convert the conventional chances, Ruiz took it upon himself to unleash a thunderous long-range strike which required another important intervention from Donnarumma.

Italy boss Luciano Spalletti would have been disappointed by the fact that his troops failed to register a single shot on target in the first period, but the only saving grace was that the contest remained goalless at the break.

Spain's Nico Williams in action with Italy's Federico Chiesa on June 20, 2024© Reuters

Spain get deserved breakthrough

In an attempt to turn the tide, Spalletti turned to his bench at the interval, introducing Roma's Bryan Cristante and Juventus' Andrea Cambiaso.

However, those changes failed to have the desired effect as Spain continued to open up the Italian defence, with Pedri arriving in the box to meet Marc Cucurella's neat pullback, only to guide the ball harmlessly wide of Donnarumma's goal.

With Spain unable to take advantage of their clearcut chances, they were ultimately given a massive helping hand when Calafiori diverted the ball into his own net in the 55th minute.

Williams drove towards the byline before sending a cross which was met by Morata, who forced Donnarumma to parry with his left hand, causing the ball to bounce off the unfortunate Calafiori and into the net.

After playing a key role in the opener, Williams nearly put his own name on the scoresheet when he cut inside from the left and unleashed a thunderous strike against Donnarumma's crossbar.

Substitute Ayoze Perez threatened a couple of times in stoppage time, but Spain was unable to grab a deserved second goal.

As for Italy, they finished the contest with just one shot on target and very rarely looked like finding a way back into the contest.

Man of the Match - Nico Williams

Cucurella, Ruiz and Yamal all have claims to be awarded Man of the Match following their contributions in the statement victory.

However, Williams probably just edges out his teammates, especially after he sent in the dangerous cross that led to the decisive goal.

The Athletic Bilbao winger was a constant threat on the left flank and can count himself unlucky that he did not get his name on the scoresheet.

What next for Spain and Italy?

Having secured top spot in Group B, De la Fuente may be tempted to rotate his squad for Monday's clash with Albania.

In contrast to La Roja, Italy still have work to do after suffering their first defeat since losing to England in October 2023.

The Azzurri are currently in second place and two points better off than Albania and their final group-stage opponents Croatia.

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Italy players pose for a team group photo before the match on June 4, 2024
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Euro 2024 fixtures header

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Tables header RHS

Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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