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Posts tagged ‘italy’

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Final: FT Spain 4 – 0 Italy

Final: FT Spain 4 – 0 Italy

Still no striker for Spain, they simply don’t care what you think, and as reigning world and European champions, you can hardly blame them: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Italy replace Federico Balzaretti with Ignazio Abate: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano.
Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Balzaretti, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

14 min: GOAL!!! AND THIS HAD BEEN COMING!!! Spain 1-0 Italy. Absolute brilliance by Fabregas, who after a period of tasty tiki-taka chases after a pass rolled down the inside-right channel. He reaches the byline under pressure from Chiellini, and whips a high ball back into the centre, where Silva, level with the right-hand post, pings an instant header into the top-left corner. What an outstanding finish, and it’s no more than Spain deserve for their high-octane start.

41 min: OUT OF NOTHING, ANOTHER SUPERB GOAL!!! Spain 2-0 Italy. Italy were on the attack, but Spain crowd them out of the ball. They stroke it around the back awhile – then launch what’s almost a route-one style goal for Spain. Well, a route three or four goal, anyway. Casillas launches it down the left. A header. A pass inside. Then Xavi rolls a perfectly weighted pass down the inside-left for Jordi Alba, who has been bombing down the channel and springs clear, slotting a calm, considered finish past Buffon and into the bottom left. A flick of the left boot into the corner.

84 min: IF IT’S A EURO FINAL, THEN THERE MUST BE A TORRES GOAL!!! Spain 3-0 Italy. A delightful finish. Italy fanny around in midfield. Xavi pounces, drives forward, and slides a ball down the inside-left channel for Torres. The Chelsea striker opens up his body and sidefoots a ball past Buffon and into the bottom right. This equals the biggest win in a Euro final – West Germany’s 3-0 win over USSR – while Torres becomes the first player to score in two of these finals.

88 min: THERE GOES WEST GERMANY’S RECORD!!! Spain 4-0 Italy. Torres hares after another Xavi sliderule pass down the inside left. He draws Buffon, before sliding the ball inside to his Chelsea teammate Mata, who clips home. Forget the fact Italy have been down to ten men, Spain were rampant anyway. This has been a majestic display.

SPAIN ARE THE FIRST EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS TO RETAIN THEIR TROPHY, AND THE FIRST TEAM IN HISTORY TO WIN THREE MAJOR INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS IN A ROW!!! Spain 4-0 Italy. That was as comprehensive as it gets. Signature performance? Well, they’ve got one now. Italy were unfortunate to go down to ten men, but the game was over by then anyway. Spain were rampant, and are celebrating in the manner they deserve.

Incidentally, here’s a delicious bonus for Spain, who have copped so much flak for rarely fielding a striker: Fernando Torres has won the golden boot. He’s one of several lads on three goals, but as he’s rarely featured, he cops the prize as a result of having played the fewest minutes.

Italy – with several players in tears – go up for their runners-up medals. Mario Balotelli had stormed off down the tunnel at the final whistle, but he’s calmed down and is back with the rest of the squad. Gianluigi Buffon, head held high and smiling, leads his men up. Giorgio Chiellini, whose final was over almost before it had begun, is in floods, poor chap. Fifa president Michel Platini hangs the silver medals round their necks. It’ll feel bitter now, but runners up seemed like a pipe dream for Italy at the beginning of the tournament. They’ve been magnificent.

But they had no answer for this Spanish side, who kept their powder dry for almost the entire tournament, before exploding in spectacularly entertaining style tonight. They trudge up the stairs – winning three trophies in a row takes a fair bit of effort, you know – and receive their gold medals. They crowd round the podium, start jumping up and down with the anticipation of little children on Christmas morning, and eventually Iker Casillas lifts the Henri Delaunay Troophy. SPAIN ARE THE 2012 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS.

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Semifinal: FT Italy 2 – 1 Germany

Semifinal: FT Italy 2 – 1 Germany

Germany recall Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and Toni Kroos: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez.
Subs: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Klose, Muller, Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.

Italy recall Giorgio Chiellini, back from a thigh injury: Buffon, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano.
Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Abate, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

At 20′, Cassano twists and turns magnificently down the left, escaping from Boateng and Khedira with one marvellous twiddle, then whipping a cross over the six-yard area, where Balotelli – having beaten Badstuber to the ball – powers home a header. That was top class. This is on! Germany 0 -1 Italy.

At 36′, Italy deal with the corner and stream upfield. Down the left, just inside his own half, Montolivo sprays a diagonal ball down the centre for Balotelli, who is suddenly clear, 40 yards out! He stomps towards the area, and whacks an unstoppable curling blooter past Neuer and into the postage stamp of the top-right corner. That was a stunning finish. He whips his shirt off to show his guns, and is booked, but doesn’t seem to care, much as you’d imagine. 2-0 for Italy.

At 90′, A ball played straight down the middle bounces onto the ground and up onto Balzaretti’s hand. he was under pressure from Klose. The ref points to the spot. Ozil steps up, and wastes no time in screaming a spot kick into the top right. Germany 1 – 2 Italy.

Italy were excellent, a much deserved victory in a very entertaining match. Playing like that, Spain will have an awful lot to think about on Sunday. They dance about and celebrate wildly, while Germany do that thousand-yard-stare thing.

 

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AET Italy* 0 – 0 England

AET Italy* 0 – 0 England

England are unchanged from the win over Ukraine. Roy Hodgson must have been slightly tempted to unleash Andy Carroll, who must be feral by now, to test out Italy in the air. Instead it’s Danny Welbeck up front and his pace could trouble the pace-averse Barzagli and Bonucci. Italy make one change: in comes Mario Balotelli for Antonio Di Natale and Prandelli does stick to the 4-3-1-2 diamond formation instead of switching to a 3-5-2.

England have had one shot on target, Glen Johnson’s effort in the fifth minute. Italy have had a goal disallowed, two shots off the post, countless chances and all the play. Somehow England have dragged the match, kicking and screaming, to penalties. Absurd. That was such an inept performance in so many ways.

PENALTIES: England 0-1 Italy* (Balotelli). A short run-up, a stutter and a finish into the bottom-left corner. Nerveless.

PENALTIES: England* 1-1 Italy (Gerrard). England’s captain steps up and goes the same way as Balotelli, even though Buffon went the right way.

PENALTIES: England 1-1* Italy An atrocious penalty from Montolivo! He tries to emulate Balotelli and Gerrard but puts it so far wide!

PENALTIES: England 2-1 Italy* (Rooney) Rooney thumps it into the bottom-left corner, Buffon sent the wrong way. Advantage England!

PENALTIES: England 2-2 Italy* (Pirlo) How are your nerves? With Italy desperately needing Pirlo to score, he Panenkas it down the middle! Outrageous.

PENALTIES: England* 2-2 Italy There goes the advantage, Ashley Young smashing it against the bar! I was telling anyone who’d listen that he’d miss.

PENALTIES: England 2-3 Italy* (Nocerino) Nocerino scores and the pressure is all on England now.

PENALTIES: England* 2-3 Italy A dreadful penalty from Ashley Cole! He hits it tamely towards the bottom-right corner and Buffon easily saves! If Diamanti scores, England are out.

ITALY WIN 4-2 ON PENALTIES! ENGLAND ARE OUT! Alessandro Diamanti coolly sends Hart the wrong way and strokes the ball into the bottom-left corner, Hart going the wrong way. England have lost on penalties again. Same old.

England deserved nothing more after a performance that could, if we were being generous, be described as battling and, if we were being harsh, be described as inept. Apart from a first-half flurry, they failed to keep the ball, were devoid of ideas and were indebted to the woodwork, the linesman’s offside flag, luck and some awful Italian finishing. Italy thoroughly dominated and while the focus will be on the two Ashleys for their penalty misses, that would mask the sad truth: England simply weren’t very good. Still, at least they don’t have to play Germany.

 

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FT Italy 2 – 0 Republic of Ireland

FT Italy 2 – 0 Republic of Ireland

So it’s all change for Italy. Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Federico Balzaretti, Antonio Di Natale come in. Out go Leonardo Bonucci, Mario Balotelli and the wing-backs Christian Maggio and Emanuele Giaccherini. For Ireland, Kevin Doyle gets another start, but, as expected, there’s no experimentation from Trapattoni.

At 35′, Ireland couldn’t clear after Di Natale’s clever shot from the byline. Italy won a corner, Cassano got across his marker and flicked a header that pinged off Given and dropped down over the line before Damien Duff could clear. 1-0 for Italy.

A wonderful, wonderful goal came from the Manchester City striker at 90′. A corner swung in and an acrobatic volley crisper and sweeter than a Granny Smith apple. 2-0 for Italy.

So Italy go on to face whoever finishes atop Group D, be it England, France or Ukraine. They wobbled in the opening 20-odd minutes and almost shattered in the final 15, but they survived in the end.

 

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FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

FT Italy 1 – 1 Croatia

Italy won a softish free-kick on the edge of the area at 41′, a fair way to the left of centre, after Balotelli was challenged by Rakitic. Pirlo has always been a master at getting it up and down from 18.00001 yards, and he did it again with a beautiful free-kick that went over the wall and right in the corner at the near post. Pletikosa got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. That was an effortlessly suave free-kick from one of the most elegant footballers in the world.

At 72′, Mandzukic scored a goal for Croatia. This is a really poor goal to concede as well. Strinic, aided by Vukojevic’s overlapping run, swerves a long cross towards the far post, where Chiellini hopelessly mistimes his jump. It goes straight over his head, allowing Mandzukic to pull it down deftly, six yards from goal, before ramming it above the sprawling Buffon and in off the post. That was a cool finish because most forwards would have hit that first time

That was a fair result in an enjoyable game. Croatia fought back excellently in the second half, aided by Italy’s excessive caution, and a draw keeps both teams alive going into the final match. Croatia have four points to Italy’s two, but I still think Italy are in a slightly better position.

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Instant Reply by Fabregas

Goal from Barcelona’s man Cesc Fabregas. 1-1 Game On!

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Goal!! Di Natale!!

Superb pass by Andrea Pirlo! Class finishing by Di Natale. 1-0 for ITALY!