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Euro 2024: Spain defeats Italy 1-0, advances to knockouts

Euro 2024: Spain defeats Italy 1-0, advances to knockouts

Photo: AFP

Gelsenkirchen: After defeating Italy 1-0 on Thursday, Spain advanced to the round of 16 of the 2024 European Championship with one game remaining. Their commanding performance guaranteed that La Roja would advance as the winners of Group B.

In the largest game of the tournament thus far in Germany, Riccardo Calafiori's own goal nine minutes after halftime separated the two teams. However, unlike their resounding first-round thrashing of Croatia, Spain's narrow victory margin in Gelsenkirchen did not reflect a statement performance in which they fully neutralised Italy and should have won the match before halftime, AFP reported.

The standout performer for Spain was Nico Williams, who outran Giovanni Di Lorenzo, the right-back for Napoli, and provided the cross that resulted in the unfortunate Calafiori poking the winning goal into his own net.

"We had quite a few really good chances, but we're very happy because we showed that we are a great team and that we can stifle any team," said Spain captain Alvaro Morata.

With a flawless record at the top of the group, Luis de la Fuente's team will play Albania on Monday with the knowledge that they have advanced to the knockout stages and are performing like potential champions. Regarding Italy, The well-earned loss on Thursday served as a wake-up call as colourful Spain often threatened the outstanding Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.

"We misplaced too many easy passes and didn't play with enough quality. If you make that many mistakes you are going to be punished," said Donnarumma who made eight saves.

It was an act reminiscent of the two teams' performance in the Euro 2012 final, in which Spain defeated Italy 4-0. Though they are now in second place with three points, Luciano Spalletti's team still has hope because they will qualify behind Spain if they draw with Croatia on Monday.

"We created some situations with which we could have equalised, but they were much better than us. They deserved to win," said Spalletti to RAI

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TAGS:ItalySpainEuro 2024
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