Gdansk, Group C
Spain showed plenty of life in the first half, though the best chances went to an Italian team who for once did not sit back and allow their more fluent rivals to take over. This Spanish team are World and European champions, and anyone who thought that they may have lost the hunger to succeed or were too tired after a hectic domestic season were proved wrong, although they did not make good use of the possession that they enjoyed with the best two chances of the first half going to the Italians. That state of affairs quickly changed in the early minutes of the second with an attacking Spain getting three clear opportunities, although the mercurial Mario Balotelli failed to make the best chance of the match count when he decided to take his time after getting the better of Sergio Ramos.
Within three minutes of being replaced by Antonio Di Natalie, Italy finally put one past a Spanish team who at that moment appeared to lack bite.
Of course, we are talking about Spain here and within 3 minutes of that goal Cesc Fabregas put the European Champions back in business.
Spain continued to threaten from now onwards and with fifteen minutes to go, Fernando Torres who had just come on as a substitute failed to convert a break after being tackled by the Italian goalkeeper. Gianluigi Buffon.
Italy had another clear chance which went begging, although Spain would have felt robbed had that gone in given the amount of possession and the creativity their players enjoyed which was highlighted by a second Torres chance which was this time beautifully lofted over the bar.
If Italy figured during this time, it was because the Spanish were too busy attacking to watch their back.
At the end, the fact that they did not walk away with a win had less to do with Italy and more to do with the fact that Spain have not yet hit full gear.