Euro 2008: Spain vs. Italy (Your Running Commentary)

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After three exhilarating, unpredictable, entertaining and unforgettable quarterfinal match-ups, can the last match of the European Championship quarterfinal round possibly give us more?

It just might. Spain and Italy square off in what was probably the most anticipated match-up of the quarterfinal round. That was before late-game heroics, penalty kick drama and a shocking upset left us begging for more. Can Spain and Italy deliver?

In one corner you have the Spaniards, notorious for folding in big tournaments, the last remaining unbeaten and the last remaining group winner, facing Italy, the reigning World Champions and the team that didn’t win at Euro 2008 until its final group match against France. Can Italy, missing key defenders and showing its age, really beat a loaded Spanish squad that looks as dangerous in attack as it looks stingy in defense?

Come on, can you really say no? Can you doubt any outcome in this tournament after Turkey stunned the Croatians and Russia upset the Netherlands?

Well, I’m saying no, if only because I’m standing at a tidy 0-3 for the quarters and have to hold on to my pick to win the tournament. I picked Spain to win it all and I’ll stick to that, even after all the drama of the early quarterfinal matches. I’ll say Spain wins 2-1 (that sound you hear is Spanish fans crying because I just gave Spain the kiss of death).

I will be doing a running commentary of the match so feel free to follow along here and, whether you’re watching at home or are stuck where you can’t watch, you’re more than welcome to share your thoughts and opinions before, during and after the match in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match.

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70th minute- Okay folks, I’m off to try and get my laptop fixed. Enjoy the rest of the match and share your comments below.

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55th minute- And here comes Spain again, applying pressure. Not sure how much longer Italy’s defense holds up.

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51st minute- Toni barely offside and nearly gets onto a great ball in from Grosso. I get the feeling that Toni is going to score today.

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50th minute- Italy looks content to let Spain knock it around.

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HALFTIME- Spain has had the better of the play, more of the possession and better chances. Italy has defended well and benefited from some non-calls. Service to Luca Toni is an issue. He looks hungry for a score but can’t get enough service. Not sure what subs Roberto Donadoni can make at this point, or if he’ll be content with the solid defending.

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45th minute- A testy match today, the testiest match of the quarters. I wonder how much the ref is to blame.

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42nd minute- The referee conpletely misses a foul by Gross on David Silva just outside the area. This ref is shocking today.

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38th minute- Spain putting more pressure on, with Torres and Silva taking shots. Spain has looked good so far, better than Italy to this point.

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36th minute- Toni with a header that looked headed for goal before Marchena got in the way. Italy’s best sequence yet.

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34th minute- Spain is starting to get some shots on Buffon, though from long range and I don’t see Buffon being beaten from distance.

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31st minute- Ambrosini with a completely deserved yellow card for a rough challenge on Senna.

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29th minute- Just when we thought the referee would call the game tightly i think we’ve seen about four fouls not called in the past five to 10 minutes.

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25th minute- David Villa with a hard and low free kick that Buffon smothers.

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22nd minute- Wow, Ambrosini nearly found Toni with a great ball in but it came a bit too early so the chance went begging.

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19th minute-Perotta streaks in with a dangerous header chance but his header is wide.

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18th minute- Torres wastes a good run in but Zambrotta pressures him into a bad shot.

The referee seems a bit too involved early on.

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15th minute- Spain controlling early on but no real chances yes.

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12th minute- Apologies for the delay. The referee has taken control of the game early and won’t be letting it get too physical.

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75 Responses to Euro 2008: Spain vs. Italy (Your Running Commentary)

  1. ManicMessiah says:

    11th minute- The first yellow card of the match goes to Iniestta.

  2. g-loff says:

    Looks like the Italians have really been working hard on their diving. Torres gets a stern warning and Iniesta gets a yellow for two fairly innocuous fouls.

  3. ManicMessiah says:

    16th minute- Meanwhile, an Italian defender is allowed to grab and pull the jersey of Torres, and to hack at the legs of David Villa.

  4. g-loff says:

    To piggyback in Manic, both Italian non-fouls occurred in the box. Not understanding the refereeing thus far.

  5. ManicMessiah says:

    Perrotta got a free header, but pushed it wide. It did take a very good cross to get it over Puyol, but someone needed to be marking Perrotta

  6. ManicMessiah says:

    He actually hit it at the keeper.

    As for the game, I’d hoped to see more from Spain so far.

  7. ManicMessiah says:

    Free kick in a good position for Spain, and the Italian defender seemed bemused as he argued there was nothing wrong with that challenge.

  8. ManicMessiah says:

    I hate when any commentator describes the flow of the game as a ‘chess match’, as if it’s supposed to be fascinating. Who sits around to watch chess?

  9. ManicMessiah says:

    I know it would cause other problems, but I’d really like the referee to have some more discretion than to either award a penalty or nothing for fouls in the box.

  10. ManicMessiah says:

    Another foul by an Italian defender near or in the box goes completely ignored.

  11. ManicMessiah says:

    The 1st chance of the 2nd half came to Silva, who took down a ball mere feet from goal which took a deflection from an Italian clearance, but rather than shoot it first time he tried to drag it back to his favored foot. The defense managed to close on him, and the chance disappeared.

  12. ManicMessiah says:

    Cazorla and Fabregas in for Xavi and Iniesta.

    Perrotta had come off for Camoranesi earlier.

    And Italy had a couple of chances to put the ball into the net, one stopped very well by Casillas!

  13. ManicMessiah says:

    Italy are becomming more agressive.

  14. ManicMessiah says:

    Luca Toni embellished at the very least, and may have dove to earn a free kick for Italy, which is crossed in but not connected on.

  15. Ives says:

    Hey Manic, thanks for the updates. I’m off to try and get my laptop fixed.

  16. ManicMessiah says:

    Spain with a free kick in the center of the field, 20 or so yards from the penalty area.

    David Villa hit it off the top of the wall, and the corner was wasted.

  17. Thaniel says:

    Toni finally makes a run…

  18. ManicMessiah says:

    A very good challenge by a Spanish defender to break up an Italian scoring chance on the one end.

    Spain race away, with David Villa on the left hand side of the box. Rather than passing to Torres coming in on the other side, he attempts to take on 2 Italian defenders, and falls down.

    The referee booked Villa for a dive, which in my opinion was a poor call, as it looked like he just slipped rather than was looking for a call.

  19. Gene says:

    the referee is having a shocking game, and the Spanish team is bearing the brunt of it.

  20. ManicMessiah says:

    75th minute- Cassano is coming off for Di Natale.

  21. ManicMessiah says:

    The standard of refereeing, which was in my opinion rather high the first couple of days of the tournament, has been eroding as we move along. Part of me wonders if there is just more scrutiny from everyone involved as the games grow in importance.

  22. ManicMessiah says:

    78th minute- Sergio Ramos stepped in front of a cross headed for Fernando Torres, chested it and attempted to turn and shoot as the ball was coming out, and it was saved easily.

    Then, Torres was on the left side in the penalty area near the goal line, and attempted to drag the ball back away from goal and slip it into the box, but no one was there, and the defender knocked the ball away from him for a corner.

  23. ManicMessiah says:

    80th minute- Senna just blasted a free kick that was saved by Buffon.

  24. ManicMessiah says:

    81st minute- Senna blasts a shot from long range, which Buffon muffs, and the ball rolls along and hits off the woodwork!!! Buffon was lucky, as he wouldn’t have gotten to it.

  25. g-loff says:

    Hate to say it, but it seems like the refereeing is taking a lot away from this game. Almost every replay has an Italian defender grabbing a handful of jersey or taking a blatant dive. Even with the fallacies from the ref, Spain seems to be the most likely side to score. They just put a couple of great chances in on net.

  26. ManicMessiah says:

    83rd minute- A cross comes from the right side of the penalty area from Di Natale. Grosso was wide open streaking down the left side of the penalty area, but Luca Toni stuck his foot up in an attempt to control the ball, almost turning into a bicycle kick attempt!! If Luca Toni lays off that, Grosso has a great shot on goal.

  27. ManicMessiah says:

    85th minute- Torres comes of for Guiza, the top scorer in La Liga.

  28. Jerry says:

    84 min – Guiza in for Torres

  29. g-loff says:

    Great ball in from Villa that Guiza desides he needs his arms to settle at the top of the six rather than just using his chest. Great ball and chance wasted.

  30. ManicMessiah says:

    88th minute- a long ball was played in on the ground to David Villa on the left side, who sent in a brilliant cross to Guiza, who inexplicabally tried to funnel the ball down into his chest with the use of BOTH arms! I don’t know what Guiza was thinking. I have to believe Torres does better with that.

  31. Jerry says:

    3 minutes of added time

  32. ManicMessiah says:

    91st minute- Luca Toni has been pretty embarassing tonight, and the referee is just as much to blame by catering to his acting.

    Luca Toni lays on the ground after what was a good tackle, and the ref blows the whistle, stopping Spain from going forward.

  33. Jerry says:

    Is it me, or does the ref calls everything in favor of the italians?

  34. Jerry says:

    What a ball by Cesc!!

  35. ManicMessiah says:

    Fabregas with a brilliant cross into David Villa into the center of the penalty area. Villa takes it down with his foot, but his touch allowed an Italian defender to pluck it away from him! It was a good piece of defending, but with a better touch, Villa might have been able to control and shoot it.

    FULL TIME

  36. Jerry says:

    Spain are playing better now. Since sequence.

  37. ManicMessiah says:

    93rd minuta- Guiza headed down a cross, which was shot but deflected and fell to Silva, who blasted a shot that was JUST wide!! That whole bit of play was very good from Spain.

  38. ban boring football says:

    All last week and early this week, I read the comments of idiots trying to justify the Italian style. This game sickens me. The dirty play, the diving, the complete lack of flair. How can anyone be proud of that?? Italy sucks.

  39. g-loff says:

    David Silva has had a very nice match tonight so far.

    Italian header goes just over the crossbar, Casillas got a hand on it.

  40. ManicMessiah says:

    95th minute- Di Natale takes a cross from the right and heads it at Casillas, who makes a reaction save!!!

    Before that Toni got a cross put into a dangerous position, but the defender put in a saving touch. Italy threatened.

  41. Jerry says:

    @ ban: I don’t like the Italian style, but you have to admit is really effective.

  42. ManicMessiah says:

    100th minute- Fabregas was fed in a ball, but was offsides thanks to a great line by the Italian defense.

  43. ManicMessiah says:

    1st period of extra time over.

    It’s been what you’d expect from an extra time, which is very dull compared to the last 2 quarterfinal matches, in which both teams were still actively going for it.

  44. ManicMessiah says:

    107th minute- Stupid free kick given to Italy, which was served in from Grosso but noone conected to it. Serfio Ramos kicked at a ball in midair, and he had Puyol behind him.

    108th minute- bDel Piero coming on for Aquilani.

  45. ManicMessiah says:

    109th minute- Zambrotta had a free kick decision go against him in his offensive zone, but I couldn’t see anything in it. Puzzling decision on what seemed like mutual jostling.

  46. ManicMessiah says:

    111th minute- Silva puts in a great ball to Villa, but a bad first touch from Villa pushed it wide, making his shot come from a wide angle which Buffon saved!

    Kudos to the linesman for giving the advantage to the offensive player on a close offsides call.

  47. ManicMessiah says:

    114th minute- Di Natale stays on the ground to stop a Spanish attack, and of course the referee obliges. Despicable behaviour by Italy, who has done this multiple times, but even more shameful from the referee who is allowing this by stopping play.

  48. g-loff says:

    Yet another Italian goes down “injured”, completely stopping the power of a quick Spanish counter-attack. With the way Spain have been playing, they would have blown the chance anyways.

  49. ManicMessiah says:

    115th minute- Italy’s defense has been excellent as far as making tackles just when Spain is about to be put into good positions. They have not allowed many scoring chances to materialize.

  50. ManicMessiah says:

    The ref has been atrocious, which means he will probably be awarded the final.

  51. ManicMessiah says:

    119th minute- There have been a few chances, but penalty kicks seem an inevitability.

    Two World Class keepers will be pitted against one another.

    Cazora went for a shot, with a streaking David Villa coming along!!! Cazora pushed it wide. If he just layed it off, Villa finishes it easily, and Spain wins the game!

  52. ManicMessiah says:

    We are going to penalties.

  53. Thom says:

    Manic Messiah- excellent obsevation on the ref

    Is there one person out there who believes Spain will win the PK’s?

    Not me but here’s hoping i’m wrong.

  54. ManicMessiah says:

    Villa puts in the 1st Spain Penalty to the keeper’s right! It was hit HARD.

    Grosso puts it in in the same direction!!! Casillas guessed right, but couldn’t stop it.

  55. ManicMessiah says:

    2nd Spanish Penalty- Cazola GOOD!!!

    2nd Italy Penalty- De Rossi- SAVED!!!

  56. Thom says:

    can justice be done for once?

  57. ManicMessiah says:

    3rd Spain Penalty- Senna GOOD!!! It was a calm finish.

    3rd Italy Penalty- Camoranesi GOOD!!! to the keeper’s left.

  58. Thom says:

    why pull off Torres ?

  59. ManicMessiah says:

    4th Spain Penalty- Guiza SAVED!!! Not a great penalty from La Liga’s top scorer.

    4th Italy Penalty- Di Natale SAVED!!!

  60. ManicMessiah says:

    equally poor penalty by Di Natale.

    Fabregas for a chance to move on!

    GOOD!!!!

    Keeper guessed the wrong way, and SPAIN MOVE ON!!!!!

  61. Thom says:

    YES!!!!!

    for once justice is done and the Italians go out for playing cynical football!!!!

  62. WiscFan says:

    YES! Way to go Spain. I’m happy to see the Italians are not going through.

  63. Thom says:

    Thank you Spain. Now I can root for the Russians for the style and verve in which they are playing.

    Argones- NEVER TAKE TORRES OFF THE PITCH.

    He would 6 goals if he was playing for Germany.

  64. William the Terror says:

    Italy is out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice is served!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The team that never plays to win but always plays to “not lose,” the team the actively tried to steer this game to penalties rather than playing attacking football, gets shown the door. Excellent!!!

    When I get to hell, I know that my punishment will be to watch endless matchups of Greece v. Italy. But, for today at least, I am happy.

  65. Thom says:

    I do hate the Italian national team. Every cup is better to watch when they go out.

  66. ManicMessiah says:

    Spain are deserved winners on the night. Some of the actions by Italy were pretty shameless and deplorable, but the referee is the one who created an atmosphere where it was rewarded.

    It was a match where I’d notice the referee every other minute, which is the sign of a really badly officiated match.

    It was definitely the worst of the 4 Quarter Final matches, though.

  67. Thom says:

    Amen William the Terror.

  68. Thom says:

    ManiacMessiah- which of the Quaters do you think was refereed the best?

  69. ManicMessiah says:

    Honestly, it’s tough to say off the top of my head, and I couldn’t really say about Portugal/Germany, as it was the game I paid the least attention to. However, I would go with the Croatia/Turkey match over Netherlands/Russia, as there was that funny business with a red card then a takeback. Plus, I can’t remember a call in Croatia/Turkey that I can specifically remember.

  70. Thom says:

    He got the red card take back right though he went about it the wrong way. Rgere was no foul but then again the ball went over the touch line either.

    Either the Germany quarter ref (and he missed the Balack push off even truthfully even though I was rooting aganist Portugal) or the Holland Rusia ref because he let them play without stupid interuptions.

    Man- I love when Andy Grey calls the games.

  71. chris says:

    That game was everything that’s bad about soccer. One team playing not to lose with 10 men behind the ball all game, diving all over the field and a scoreless draw decided by PK’s. Yuck.

  72. Chris UCF says:

    besides italy’s tremendous defense and the horrendous officiating,

    why in god’s name was torres taken off? unfathomable..

    he and aragones really must have a spat. he wasn’t even tired or anything.

    i was happy for villa though, he worked his ass off all game

  73. Richard says:

    borriello should have come on for toni late 2nd half/early 1st et … del piero should have never made the team… if he didn’t fit in with donadoni’s style before, why would it change now??? italy’s mistakes of picking players / not playing them has cost them in this euro AND in euro 2000 with the totti/del piero fiasco… (i think the two played in 02 always together though…)

    heres to 2010 and the (hopefully) youngest team in the tournament!! ROSSI, GIOVINCO, NOCERINO, AQUILANI, MONTOLIVO, ROSINA, PAZZINI, QUAG, DE RO, BUFFON/AMELIA/CURCI, CHIELLINI, PALLADINO, thats all i can name off the top of my head…prob more that i missed…

  74. martha says:

    Thank God Italy didnt win. They were the worst team to win the world cup…both times.

    Ugly team doesnt even try to attck, just lobbed a few aerials to Luca Toni on counters. They dont deserve any starn on their jersy. Dipite winning twice since 1970 they have never been the best team in any tournament. Thankfully the SOCCER GODS SET things right.

  75. vipero says:

    even since 1970! on 1978 and 1982 it was pretty good.

    This time it was quite poor, indeed, but could still deserve to be in the semifinal.

    Well, at least William had his orgasm, I had mine thanks to Russia. We’re all happy! ;o) Cheers Paolo (Rome, Italy)