Euro 2012 Group C: Spain 1-1 Italy | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Group C: Spain 1-1 Italy

[Monday, June 11, 2012 ]

European champions Spain kicked off their title defense with a 1-1 draw against Italy in Group C of Euro 2012 at Gdańsk.

Spain defender Sergio Ramos prevents a goalscoring opportunity from Italy forward Mario Balotelli
Spain defender Sergio Ramos prevents a goalscoring opportunity from Italy forward Mario Balotelli

Photo: Getty Images

Despite having the likes of Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente at his disposal, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque opted to utilise the "false number nine" formation which saw them line-up without a striker.

The experiment didn't immediately appear to work in a quiet opening period and things got even worse for the reigning champions when substitute Antonio Di Natale fired Italy in front on the hour mark.

But the lead lasted just four minutes as a beautiful flicked pass with the outside of his left boot from David Silva picked out Cesc Fàbregas and he made no mistake with a crisp finish under Gianluigi Buffon.

Del Bosque did eventually bring a striker on in the form of Torres but the Chelsea hitman endured a miserable 15 minutes, missing two glorious chances to claim all three points.

Lineups:

Spain: Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva (Jesús Navas, 65), Cesc Fàbregas (Fernando Torres, 74), Andrés Iniesta

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Leonardo Bonucci; Christian Maggio, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Motta (Antonio Nocerino, 90), Emanuele Giaccherini; Mario Balotelli (Antonio Di Natale, 56), Antonio Cassano (Sebastian Giovinco, 65)



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