Monthly Archives: June 2012

My first Live Blogging Post: Euro 2012 Finals, Spain Vs. Italy

Spain Vs. Italy Coverage. Spain 4 Italy 0.

That’s it! this is how Spain wraps their Euro 2012 victory. Spain with the score of 4-0 have created history today. 

Less than 30 seconds left for Spain to win Euro 2012.

What a goal by Juan Mata and an amazing assist by Fernando Torres. Spain 4-0.

Are you Kidding me?!?! 4th goal scored by Spain.

Great finish, he timed the run beautifully. We were always bemused why Spain didn’t do better in the tournaments. But they’ve come together at the right time. You’d like to see them play the Brazil 1970 team. Look at the three passes Spain have created for the three goals – outstanding.

GOAL – Spain (Fernando Torres) 3-0 Italy 

Fernando Torres could be the first player ever to score in two different European Championship finals.

Fernando Torres comes in for Fabregas. 

Spain are camped on the edge of the Italy penalty area here, and they don’t look like they will settle for just the two goals here.

DI NATALE IS LIVING OFFSIDE! Again, the Italy substitute mistimes his run and is flagged offside by the official on the near side.

Italy are looking tired out there with 10 men. Spain have got to be the last team you would want to play with a numerical disadvantage, they control the ball so well. 

None of the five major tournament finals in the 21st century (World Cup European Championship) have seen more than two goals. Could this one change that?  

Fabregas turns away from Barzagli brilliantly to the left of the Italy box but is then dispossessed by a challenge from Bonucci. The defender tries to play a quick pass out to Balotelli but it is overhit and hands the ball back to Spain.

Spain Manager chewing some pan parag! 

The tempo has dropped since that injury to Thiago Motta, as Spain move into dominance mode. You can’t fault Italy for their effort though, they are still harrying and chasing for everything.

Pirlo whips the ball towards Bonucci at the back-post, but the Italian defender goes down in a heap with Sergio Busquets, with the referee deeming it a foul from the attacking player.

The Brazilian-born midfielder is helped onto a stretcher and taken straight down the tunnel here, just four minutes after coming on. What a shame for the player, and his team. Spain will now play the remaining 28 minutes with an extra man. As if Italy weren’t facing a big enough task!

Thiago Motta has only just come on for Italy, but he’s gone down clutching his right hamstring here. This does not look good for Cesare Prandelli’s side, Motta was their final substitute…

Pedro has looked very dangerous during this tournament when he has been brought on as a substitute in the second half of games, as his pace and trickery have caused tiring legs all sorts of problems. His linkplay with Alba in the second half of extra-time against Portugal was a highlight of Spain’s tournament!

SUBSTITUTION FOR SPAIN – Pedro on for David Silva

I’ve never seen David Silva sulk before, but he’s not happy about this at all.

He curls it towards the back post but Casillas stops it from reaching its intended target, punching the ball a long way to safety to relieve the pressure on his side.

SUBSTITUTION FOR ITALY – Thiago Motta on for Riccardo Montolivo

Third and final change for Italy.

Antonio Di Natale has made a difference, he is looking to get in behind all the time and he almost connects with a floating pass from Andrea Pirlo.

Spain then break again with Jordi Alba and another incisive pass is just cut out. It’s captivating stuff.

Tweet: “When do you think that they’ll bring Balotelli on?”

GOOD SAVE FROM THE MAN THEY CALL SAINT IKER!! Casillas blocks a well-struck effort from Di Natale before catching the striker’s subsequent cross from the rebound. Composed stuff at the back from Casillas there.

The game is stretched now as both sides hit on the counter. I think we’ll see more goals.

Fabregas dances into the box on the right and dribbles straight at goal. Buffon does well to flick the ball away from goal before Abate’s despairing lunge blocks Iniesta from hooking the ball into an empty net.

Spain want a penalty now as Sergio Ramos’s header is blocked by the hand of Leonardo Bonucci. Definitely strikes his hand, I’ve seen that given…

Just ridiculous football from Cesc Fabregas. He somehow dribbles past three defenders inside the six-yard box but then treads on the ball and it is hacked clear from inside the goalmouth. That really would have been game over.

KICK-OFF – Spain 2-0 Italy

Here comes the second half…

It’s the end of the First half and Spain are 2-0.

YELLOW CARD FOR ITALY – Andrea Barzagli

Cynical bodycheck stops Andres Iniesta in his stride.

We are very close to the end of the first half! 

Jordi Alba plays the ball inside to Xavi, and then gets on his bike to sprint 40 yards forwards to collect the return pass, which is perfectly weighted. The new Barcelona man then steers an immaculate finish beyond Gigi Buffon for his first international goal. Quality. 

Spain gets their second goal in the 41th minute. Well done by Alba and it was a good assist by David Silva too. 

GOAL!GOAL! It’s goal number 2 scored by Alba…..Good lord! 

Tweet: “Alonso is dominating Pirlo‬. Italy need some inspiration. Spain are tactically spot on.”

After 30 minutes, and according to Prozone, Italy have had 53% of possession so far. It’s the first time Spain have been in the minority at Euro 2012.

Italy very nearly hurt Spain, and it’s that man Antonio Cassano again. He unleashes a stinging drive from range which has Iker Casillas worried and the Real Madrid man has to punch it away.

It’s good stuff from Italy.

“Casillas doesn’t look convincing tonight, does he? You have to give Italy credit – they’ve stuck at it. Spain do look dangerous, though. But Italy have responded well, getting hold of the ball and passing it, and Spain have just gone sloppy.”

Tweet: “First blood Spain but Italy are beginning to settle…”

David Silva has now been involved in five goals at the Euros, with three assists and two goals. He’s some player.

Here’s our first sight of Federico Balzaretti down that Italian left, and he swings in a great cross which is destined for Mario Balotelli’s head until Iker Casillas gets a hand to it and turns it away. Mario gives it the thumbs up, and Italy are still alive and kicking.

You don’t want to give the ball back to Spain when they’re ahead. Technically Spain have six midfield players and they swarm.

Yellow Card Gerard Piqué

SUBSTITUTION FOR ITALY – Federico Balzaretti on for Giorgio Chiellini 

It was a wonderful move for the goal, but David Silva won’t score many headers. His header was the 22nd headed goal of the tournament.

What a tournament Silva is having by the way! That’s Two goals and three assists now for the Manchester City attacker.

A user on twitter.com writes: “Watching Spain makes me realise why I love this sport.”

Another corner and more danger from Italy as Sergio Ramos has to awkwardly head over his own crossbar. This is a fine reaction from the Italians.

This match is getting Boring, boring Spain craft a gem of a goal.

What a fantastic goal silva and assisted by Fabregas. 

GOAL – Spain (David Silva) 1-0 Italy 

GOAL!GOAL! 1st goal from Spain Striker David Silva in the 14th minute.

Spain have found their rhythm now, pinging the ball about with absolute freedom. This is where Italy have to be patient and keep their shape.

Xavi hits the top of the nets. 

Sergio Ramos takes a dig from a 35-yard free-kick but blasts it high into the stands. Spain are beginning to press now, and Jordi Alba puts in a great cross to the back post but David Silva can’t quite get there.

Sergio Ramos and Mario Balotelli have already clashed twice in the first five minutes. That could be one to watch, two fiery tempers against each other. It’s a bright start here, as Carles Puyol and David Villa watch from the stands.

Here We Go! 

Gigi Buffon said in a press conference earlier this week that he thinks of his grandparents who died during World War II when he sings the anthem. He has produced another hugely passionate display there.  

Players of both the team are heading out and enter the ground, it’s National Anthem time. 

The Kids are running all around the stadium while the gigantic flags are been separated and we can see both the teams in line waiting to come out for the national anthem singing thingy!

Spain will start the match slow, they’re more like Floyd Mayweather, but Italy would love to start the match with a bang just like Rocky Balboa. 

60,000 fans are expected to be shown up to witness the final clash between Spain and Italy. 

Cesc Fabregas will lead Spain’s attack, with recognized strikers Fernando Torres and Alvaro Negredo starting on the bench. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli makes just one change from the semifinal win over Germany, with right back Ignazio Abate returning from injury to replace Federico Balzaretti. Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano will lead Italy’s attack in front of Andrea Pirlo.

Spain: Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas.

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Ignazio Abate, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli.

Pedro Porenca examining the ground and Goal nets. The match referee is from Portugal.

How tough is Italy’s task vs Spain? Last player to score past Iker Casillas in a knockout game – Zinedine Zidane, and he retired 6 years ago.

Spain, Italy players out to inspect the Olympic Stadium turf; Xavi stares down on that grass, is it watered enough?

My prediction for tonight’s final match is Spain winning with 2-1.

So, this is the day where history will be created, either Spain will create history and win the finals and will be called the best in the world of soccer, OR, Italy will give the football fans something to cheer about when they strike an upset and win against the top dog Spain. Whatever the results, it promises to be cracker of a game and i expect it to be entertainment spectacle that it is!

When the first time Spain and Italy went head to head in a group stage match, it ended in  a 1-1 draw. I bet the teams didn’t forget about this and this time again they will face each other in the final.

Spain: If they win the final, they will create a milestone in the history of world soccer that they will gain three successive major tournaments (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012) and the first to retain the Henri Delaunay trophy.

Italy: If they win this one and create an upset, this will be their second win. The first time they won was in 1968. they really need to win this match to be mattered again. 

Spain: The centre-forward – if you can call him that – seems likely to be Cesc Fabregas. You can take it as a process of elimination – Fernando Llorente hasn’t featured yet, Fernando Torres hasn’t convinced, Alvaro Negredo was invisible against Portugal – but it’s probably more accurate to look at the midfield battle. In basic terms Italy have a 4 v 3 in that zone, and having struggled to cope with Andrea Pirlo when it was a 3 v 3, del Bosque will want the extra midfielder to compete there, and possibly to put direct pressure upon Pirlo.

Italy: Giorgio Chiellini should continue at left-back alongside his Juventus centre-back colleagues, and the real question is on the other side. Ignazio Abate is the natural option, but might not be fit. Christian Maggio is naturally right-sided, but is more of a wing-back than a full-back, so Federico Balzaretti is more likely to continue – he played well there against Germany, though is probably the weakest of the three players going forward from that flank, as he’s played at left-back for the past few years.

I will start the coverage and play-by-play text commentary when the match starts. I would recommend you to refresh the page after every 2 minutes. See you Soon!

Anmol Jani on Twitter.com

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