Deposed European champions Spain put up a lethargic display as they were beaten 2-0 by a more determined Italy side in a highly anticipated encounter in the round of 16 of the Euros.
A 33rd minute goal from defender Girogio Chiellini set the Azzurri on the path to victory before GGraziano Pelle’s 90th minute strike made sure Italy progress to the quarterfinals and got their pound of flesh following the humiliating defeat against the same opponents in the final of the competition four years ago.
Spain started with an attacking trio of Nolito, David Silva and Alvaro Morata, but they proved very little threat to Italy’s back-three of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli.
It was the Italians who looked more determined from the first whistle, as they took the game to Spain and attacked vigorously, with the now former champions showing very little by way of intent to get a hold of the game.
La Furia Roja did enjoy some momentum too in the opening exchanges, but they looked far too lethargic to provide any meaningful threat as Gianluigi Buffon barely had anything to do.
As Italy’s attack continued, Sergio Ramos committed a sliding tackle while hitting his opponent’s legs. The referee blew his whistle for an infringement and Italy were awarded a free kick from a promising distance.
The resulting free kick was taken by Eder, who forced a save from De Gea, but there was only Gerard Pique in the box for Spain as Chiellini latched onto the rebound to score the opener for the Azzurri.
The second half began with Spain showing a bit more urgency following the introduction of Aritz Aduriz in place of the ineffectual Nolito.
The Spaniards kept pushing to get back into the game, but it was Italy who got another goal instead, as Pelle pounced on a loose ball inside the box and beats the goalkeeper with a shot into the middle of the net to send Italy through.