Reigning European champions Spain held by Italy
Spain 1-1 Italy
Sunday 10 June 2012
Fernando Torres wasted two golden opportunities as world and European Champions Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by Italy in their opening game at Euro 2012.
Torres appeared as a late substitute and found himself through on goal on two separate occasions but he failed to find the net and Spain had to settle for a draw.
Italy opened the scoring through Antonio Di Natale on the hour mark, but Cesc Fabregas quickly put Spain back on level terms with a clinical finish.
Italy could have broken the deadlock after just 14 minutes when Andrea Pirlo saw his free-kick produce a fine save from Spain 'keeper Iker Casillas. They came close again on 35 minutes when Cassilas could only parry a fierce drive form Antonio Cassano.
As expected the game was proving to be very tight with Spain having a lot of possession and the Italian defence not giving much away.
Spain created their first major chance on the stroke of half-time when Andres Iniesta was picked out in the area by Xavi but he fired the ball over the bar.
But the best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Italy just moments later when Thiago Motta only had Casillas to beat, but his header was directed straight at the Spain keeper who managed to palm the ball away with a great reflex save.
Mario Balotelli wasted another golden chance for Italy shortly after half-time following a lapse in concentration from Sergio Ramos. But the Manchester City forward took an age in getting a shot on goal which allowed Ramos to come back and deter the danger.
That was to be Balotelli’s last piece of the action and it was his replacement Di Natale who finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark.
The Udinese striker raced onto a path from Pirlo he and made no mistake striking a shot past Casillas into the corner of the net.
But the world and European champions quickly hit back and grabbed an equaliser on 64 minutes.
David Silva showed his class once again when he picked out a superb pass to find Fabregas and the Barcelona midfielder fired the ball under Buffon.
Torres could have stolen all the headlines for Spain with his two late efforts, but he first hesitated when he tried to go around Buffon and then saw his chip drift just over the bar.
1 Iker Casillas, 17 Alvaro Arbeloa, 3 Gerard Pique, 15 Sergio Ramos, 18 Jordi Alba, 8 Xavi, 16 Sergio Busquets, 14 Xabi Alonso, 21 David Silva (Navas 65), 10 Cesc Fabregas (Torres 74), 6 Andres Iniesta
1 Gianluigi Buffon, 3 Giorgio Chiellini, 16 Daniele De Rossi, 19 Leonardo Bonucci, 13 Emanuele Giaccherni, 8 Claudio Marchisio, 21 Andrea Pirlo, 5 Thiago Motta (Nocerino 89), 2 Cristian Maggio, 10 Antonio Cassano (Giovinco 65), 9 Mario Balotelli (Di Natale 56)