Euro 2024: Spain beat Italy 1-0 to qualify for knockout stages

Euro 2024: Spain beat Italy 1-0 to qualify for knockout stagesEuro 2024: Spain beat Italy 1-0 to qualify for knockout stages

Spain defeated defending champions Italy 1-0 on Thursday, thanks to Riccardo Calafiori‘s own goal, and could have easily won by more.

La Roja, seeking vengeance for being eliminated from Euro 2020 by the Italians, put the Azzurri on the back foot from the start, surging forward at every chance through irrepressible young wingers Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal in Gelsenkirchen.

Gianluigi Donnarumma turned Pedri’s header from a Williams cross over in the second minute, and Williams flashed a header wide eight minutes later, setting the tone for the encounter as Spain held Italy in their half.

Italy’s usually rock-solid defence couldn’t stop a dominant Spain, and Donnarumma had to stretch his enormous frame to tip over Fabián Ruiz’s 30-metre rocket in the 25th minute.

The first Italian attempt came during first-half stoppage time, and the pressure on coach Luciano Spalletti‘s men resumed immediately following the break.

In the 55th minute, Williams scored with a cross from the left that deflected off Álvaro Morata’s head and Donnarumma’s hand, striking Calafiori in the knee.

Spain poured forward again, with Yamal shooting just wide before Williams curled another effort over the crossbar.

Spain will finish first in Group B regardless of the outcome of their final encounter in the initial phase against Albania on Monday, and they will face a third-placed team from another group in the round of 16.

Italy must avoid defeat in their last group game against Croatia to ensure qualification.

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