Group Elimination C: Sunday, 10 June 2012 - Gdansk - PGE Arena
The most anticipated opener happens on June 10 at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, where the “Red Fury” plays against the “Blues”.
Formerly known as one of Europe's recurrent underachievers, this team went from near obscurity to hands down, becoming the best football team in the world. Spain or the “El Furia Rojo” won the last two major international football tournaments. Their core players coming from Real Madrid and Barcelona, have played more matches than any other players or teams in the world. Overall Spain have won 41 of their last 45 competitive games, drawing two and losing two with a run of 14 consecutive wins in competitive matches.
With all this being said, the players, no matter how gifted are at the risk of potentially fatal problems with fatigue. Age and injury have already sapped the Spaniards of some of their best players.
Considered to be Spain’s worst nightmare, football giants Italy also known as “Azzure” or the “Blues” are probably the only hope for the possibility of toppling Spain’s domination over the Championship scene. To try to overcome their imposing threat and outmuscle Spain's mighty midfield, Italy looks set to play a new system with three at the back and the middle of the park flooded with two wing backs and three bullying players in the centre. With Thiago Motta on their side and the Spanish without striker David Villa and defender Carlos Puyol, they have a good chance at winning.
After Italy's World Cup triumph of 2006 however, the team declined, as their top players began to age and bad squad selection from former manager Marcello Lippi in his attempt to defend the title he won in Germany delayed the emergence of the country's next generation of players. And despite Spain’s aging squad and losing some of its top players, the “Red Fury” still has midfielders Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso meaning that they are still top class.
Predictions: Spain wins 1-0
Spain may have lost striker David Villa and former captain Carlos Puyol to injuries but there is still a near endless line of talent ready to prove themselves. Spain has won two of the last three games against Italy that includes a 4-2 win in Euro 2008. It still however, is a match-up worthy of being dubbed the “Clash of the Titans”.
This match lived up to the bill as the clash of heavyweights Spain vs. Italy when down as a thriller ending in a 1-1 draw.
Italy was first to strike blood when striker Antonio Di Natale put Italy in front after when he got a clean set up from fellow mid-fielder Andrea Pirlo in the 61st minute, but, it was Spain’s young stud mid fielder Cesc Fabregas who tied it up for the defending champions three minutes later by finishing off a dazzling display of Spain's trademark passing game.
"Being the favorite now is complicated, but in the end we found the character (to earn a draw)," Fabregas said.
Spain, which is known for its dominance in the Group C match struggled to finish at times, while Italy relied on dangerous counterattacks.
Spanish mid-fielder Xabi Alonso (left) vies with Italian defender Christian Maggio during today's Euro 2012 match.
"The thing that really disappoints us is that we allowed them to equalize very quickly," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. "We were playing the world champions and we should have made them work harder to get back into the game. We gave Spain the chance to score goals. We need to improve, but that's our mentality."
Spainhad a 14 game winning streak snapped after this this draw. The streak started after a 1-0 loss to Switzerland to open the last World Cup.
Spain came in with an interesting line up by starting the not so big names in this match, with Fabregas at forward between David Silva and Andres Iniesta — leaving Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente on the bench.
"The first one to be surprised was me," Fabregas said. "I was happy to have the opportunity, happy to be able to play. It's been a month and half since I've played. To get the goal was nice."
Italy countered with an attack of Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli and an untested three-man defense.
Di Natale replaced Balotelli in the 56th and scored five minutes later, collecting a pass from Pirlo just as he slipped in between two defenders, then expertly shooting around Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
The 34-year-old Di Natale has scored 20 or more goals the past three seasons with Udinese in Serie A.
Fabregas' goal from the center of the area concluded a series of passes that started with Iniesta giving the ball to Silva, who then found Fabregas cutting.
Don't miss a score! Catch real time updates on your favorite EURO 2012 MATCH. Which team will win?
Copyright © The Online Sports World. All Rights Reserved. Trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the TheOnlineSportsWorld.com
The Online Sports World is one of the most recognized online sports news in the world for Soccer, Basketball, Tennis, Badminton, Formula Racing, Baseball, and Euro 2012. If you are a sports nut you have landed on the right site. We are a team of sports geeks who lives, breathes and eat sports. We felt compelled to group up and put together and develop a website where other sports nuts can argue, debate and collaborate.
A sports news may consist of a live sports streaming, sports blog, sports betting tips as well as access to hundreds of sports goods that are perfect for a sports fan. Our sports portal site will deliver real sports news in real time.
WE BRING THE GAME TO YOU!