Spain’s run in the European Championship came to a sorry end as they were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Italy in the Euro 2016 Round of 16 yesterday.
La Roja were unchanged for the fourth game running for the first time ever as th Azzurri drafted in Mattia De Sciglio to replace the injured Antonio Candreva.
From the first whistle at Stade de France, Italy rendered their recent record against Spain futile. La Roja had not lost to their opponents at major tournament since the 1994 World Cup, which included a 4-0 win in the final of Euro 2012.
Yet inside the opening few minutes, an Italian free kick was curled towards the far post and onto Graziano Pelle, who outmuscled Sergio Busquets in the air, but his header was pushed away by De Gea.
Emanuele Giacccherini then unleashed an overhead kick near Spain’s penalty spot, which was deflected onto De Gea’s right-hand post, but Spain could’ve been awarded a penalty, had referee Cuneyt Cakir blew for Chiellini’s shirt-pull on Sergio Ramos.
La Roja were badly exposed in the air again as De Sciglio’s pinpoint cross for Marco Parolo saw the midfielder climb above Alba in a mis-match, though the Lazio man could only guide the ball a yard wide of De Gea.
Spain’s defensive organisation was found wanting throughout the first half, and a low cross was completely sliced by Ramos, who somehow fired the ball just over De Gea’s goal, despite standing in the opposite direction.
Andres Iniesta, marked out of the game, let fly from 20 yards out but had his shot seen all the way by Buffon, and that was soon followed by Italy breaking the deadlock, De Gea spilling a free kick directly in front of Chiellini, who simply mopped up the rebound.
Spain’s afternoon would come De Gea’s palm away from worsening as Emanuele Giaccherini cut inside and blasted a shot at the goalkeeper. La Roja would trudge off for the break inferior in every aspect.