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Spain vs Italy: Own Goal by Calafiori Secures Spain’s Dominance in Euro 2024 Clash

In a highly anticipated Euro 2024 group stage match, Spain triumphed over Italy with a narrow 1-0 victory, thanks to an own goal by Riccardo Calafiori. This win not only cemented Spain’s position at the top of their group but also secured their place in the last 16, underscoring their formidable form in the tournament.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente had dubbed the Spain vs Italy match as a clásico, a clash between two European football giants that could easily be a final. The game lived up to this billing with Spain delivering a masterclass in football, outplaying Italy in nearly every department. Despite the slender margin, Spain’s performance was anything but narrow. They dominated the game from start to finish, a fact that the final scoreline of 1-0 does not fully reflect.

Spain unleashed a barrage of attacks on the Italian defense, registering 20 shots and 50 attacks throughout the match. The attacking duo of Nico Williams and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal were particularly outstanding. Williams terrorized Italy’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo, consistently getting past him and creating multiple goal-scoring opportunities. On the opposite wing, Yamal showcased his brilliance with skillful dribbling and creative play, making him a constant threat.

The relentless Spanish attack began almost immediately, with Williams delivering a cross that led to the first of many saves by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. Spain continued to pile on the pressure, with Pedri, Fabián Ruiz, and Álvaro Morata all coming close to scoring.

Italy, under the guidance of Luciano Spalletti, struggled to keep up with Spain’s pace and intensity. Their defense, however, held firm for much of the match, largely thanks to the heroics of Donnarumma, who made a series of impressive saves to keep Italy in the game. Despite their best efforts, Italy could not generate significant threats in the attacking third, managing only one shot in the first half.

The deadlock was finally broken in the second half when a cross from Williams led to a series of deflections, with Calafiori inadvertently turning the ball into his own net after Donnarumma’s initial save from Morata’s header. This own goal was a bitter blow for Italy, but it was a testament to Spain’s relentless pressure.

Spain’s performance was a showcase of their speed, creativity, and tactical excellence. Marc Cucurella was superb in defense, while Rodri controlled the midfield with ease, dictating the tempo of the game. The combination of youthful exuberance and tactical discipline made Spain look like strong contenders for the title.

Despite the narrow scoreline, Spain could have easily won by a much larger margin. Williams struck the bar with a stunning curling shot, and Yamal came close with a well-placed effort that just missed the far post. Morata also had several chances but was denied by Donnarumma’s brilliance.

For Italy, the match highlighted their struggles in the tournament. They were unable to cope with Spain’s high press and quick transitions. Federico Chiesa and Gianluca Scamacca failed to make an impact up front, leaving Italy with limited attacking options. The defending champions now face a crucial match against Croatia to keep their hopes of advancing alive.

Despite the loss, Spalletti remained optimistic about Italy’s prospects. “We were constantly stretched and they caused us problems – beyond what the scoreline suggests,” he said. “We didn’t play a fluid brand of football, but we still have a chance to progress.”

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