PGE Arena, Poland

Attendance: 43615

* Local time based on your geographic location.


  • Cesc Fàbregas 64'

1 - 1



  • Antonio Di Natale 60'
Watch Live on: ESPN, ESPNDeportes, ESPN3
  • 93'

    Speaking of which, I'll be back for live commentary of that match at 19.45pm UK time. And here is the magic link. See you in a bit.

  • 93'

    Victories over Ireland and Croatia will see these two level on points, so whoever wins by the greater margin will go through as winners. That should spice up the remaining Group C games. We get to see how Croatia and Ireland open up in less than an hour.

  • 93'

    FULL TIME - An excellent game comes to an end with Italy far more satisfied with a point than Spain you feel. Refreshingly progressive approach from Italy while Spain's no striker policy was of mixed success. Still, both will feel this sets them up nicely to go through.

  • 92'

    That would have been a stupendous goal as Iniesta beats three men, finds Navas, who tees it up for Alonso but his shot squirms wide of the far post.

  • 91'

    Lively again from Torres who gets to the byline and crosses but De Rossi hacks it clear.

  • 91'

    We'll have three minutes of added time....

  • 90'

    Xabi Alonso finally gets to take a free kick but he's whacked it into the stands from 30 yards #waste

  • 89'

    Another Italy change too as Motta is replaced by Nocerino.

  • 89'

    The seventh card of the game as Maggio is booked for a clip on Iniesta.

  • 88'

    Lovely move from Italy as Marchisio plays a one-two with Motta and gets a shot off but it lacked the power to trouble Casillas.

  • 87'

    Xavi feeds Navas on the left but he goes for goal when Torres was in the centre. Buffon claims.

  • 86'

    Torres could have had a hat-trick already here. At least he is making things happen I suppose. That lack of confidence is radiating from him again.

  • 85'

    Another Torres fluff! He is played through the middle by Xavi, Buffon races out unnecessarily so the striker checks onto his right and tries a chip into the unguarded net but he's cleared the bar!

  • 84'

    Now Torres is carded, for a supposed elbow on De Rossi. Hmm.

  • 83'

    Arbeloa gets a card from wrestling Giovinco to the floor.

  • 82'

    Another slice of ineptitude from Torres, who again races in on goal, then checks, then gives the ball away. Very disappointing.

  • 81'

    Italy have only ever lost one game from a winning position at the European Championships - the Euro 2000 final v France.

  • 80'

    Motta fouls Alba, as Italy try to close down Spain's players as soon as they get the ball.

  • 79'

    Xavi's free kick is blocked by the Italian wall.

  • 78'

    Torres does well to try and find Xavi, who is then clattered by Chiellini. Finally, finally, he gets a yellow card that has been in the post for a long time.

  • 77'

    A golden chance for Di Natale to grab a second! He got on the end of Pirlo's pass and has volleyed wide from six yards out with only Casillas to beat. He was on the stretch but still, what an opportunity.

  • 76'

    Now Busquets flashes a free header wide of the target from Xavi's free kick.

  • 75'

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  • 75'

    Torres gets in on goal with his first involvement but is tackled by Buffon! The keeper did ever so well, stood up and made a block with his feet. Very unconvincing from Torres, as usual.

  • 74'

    Fabregas is removed for Torres. Another surprising Spanish change. Now goal creator and scorer are off the pitch.

  • 73'

    Great chance for Jordi Alba as Navas crosses deep to the back post. Alba had time to steady himself for the volley but fires it wide of the post.

  • 72'

    Speak of the devil - he's stripping off and ready to enter the fray. Scored the winner in the Euro 2008 final don't forget.

  • 71'

    Fabregas - the false nine - finding the net. Eat that Torres.

  • 70'

    Pique nods up in the air and Ramos tries an overhead kick that nearly takes De Rossi's face off. Luckily, no-one is badly hurt.

  • 69'

    Spain's fans crack out the "ole's" after a long spell of possession. It ends with Navas winning a corner.

  • 68'

    Pirlo tries another cute pass to slide Di Natale in but he gets this one wrong. This has turned into a belter of a game.

  • 67'

    What a disaster for Italy - they were only ahead for four minutes. Great reply from the defending champions.

  • 66'

    Bonucci clatters Iniesta with a horribly high tackle and is rightly carded. That could have been red for some refs.

  • 65'

    Surprisingly, Silva - the goal creator - has just been replaced by Navas. For Italy, Cassano is replaced by Giovinco.

  • 64'

    There's the cutting edge - a fine passing move as Silva slides Fabregas in and he slams the ball past Buffon. He rushes to put the ball back on the centre spot and we have a game on.

  • 64'

    GOAL Fabregas pulls Spain level!

  • 63'

    What price a triple change for Spain now? Negredo, Torres and Llorente all on? Iniesta fires a shot right at Buffon as we ponder that one.

  • 62'

    That's how you do it Mario. His replacement shows him the way with a very calm finish past Casillas. Brilliant from Pirlo to create it, too.

  • 61'

    Well, well. The World champions trail. Still half an hour left however. They need to find their cutting edge - and fast.

  • 60'

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  • 60'

    What an impact the sub has made! Di Natale is slipped through on goal by a wonderful Pirlo pass and finds the corner of the net with a cool finish.

  • 60'

    GOAL Di Natale scores!

  • 59'

    Maggio tries an ambitious pass for Di Natale but Ramos is across. Will we get a winner?

  • 58'

    Arbeloa tugs back Cassano - a booking all day long but the ref just has a word.

  • 57'

    Immediately he launches into an explanation of his languid stride in on goal, judging by the pictures.

  • 56'

    Balotelli is hauled off after his missed chance, Di Natale replaces him.

  • 55'

    That was the game's best chance by a mile. I doubt Balotelli will get a better one in the rest of the game.

  • 54'

    Now Mario's strike partner, Cassano, cuts inside Pique and squirts a shot high and wide.

  • 53'

    He holds his head in his hands. What did he think Ramos was going to do - just go to sleep on the byline?

  • 52'

    Balotelli robs Ramos of the ball on the touchline, nears the goal but waits an age to shoot, allowing the Real Madrid defender to get back and toe the ball away from him. Very slack from Super Mario.

  • 51'

    Now Iniesta has missed Spain's best chance as Fabregas fed him in, his shot from four yards goes wide from the angle, via a little nick from Buffon.

  • 50'

    Now Xavi flashes a fierce drive wide of the post after the referee neglected to give Pirlo an obvious free kick. Good job it didn't go in.

  • 49'

    Nice from Spain - very nice. Xavi and Iniesta involved, then Fabregas shoots from 25 yards, forcing Buffon to turn it behind.

  • 48'

    Fernando Torres warms up in earnest. Can't have filled any of Spain's strikers with confidence when the team sheet was pinned on the dressing room wall.

  • 47'

    Chiellini trips Xavi and is lucky not to be carded, especially given the few fouls he gave away in the first half.

  • 46'

    We begin again - no changes for either team.


    John Brewin is reporting on the game for ESPN and will also be delivering updates from the stadium throughout. He soaked up the atmosphere in Poznan yesterday, while our resident Ireland expert Kevin Palmer has been discussing how important a return to a major finals is for the boys in green.


    Don't forget that hot on the heels of this match we'll have the other clash in Group C today - Croatia v Ireland. To get you in the mood why not have a read of Robin Hackett's preview?

  • 45'

    HALF TIME That is that. An entertaining half, minus many clear cut chances. Both sides will be reasonably happy with their start to Euro 2012, while Vicente Del Bosque might have to review his no striker policy.

  • 45'

    Italy's attacking threat is back as Casillas makes a fine save from Motta's header from the six-yard line. Super save, given he's been so quiet.

  • 44'

    Super pass from Xavi to Iniesta, who controls with one touch and tries a volleyed lob with his next. A good idea as Buffon was off his line but he has just over-hit it. Top effort.

  • 43'

    Italy's attacking threat has rather wilted in the last ten minutes.

  • 42'

    Spain are playing through the middle every time, which means it is all very congested on the edge of the box.

  • 41'

    Clear chance for Spain as Silva turns, feeds Fabregas in on goal but an excellent stretching challenge from Bonucci prevents his shot troubling Buffon.

  • 40'

    As Soccernet writer Richard Jolly points out: "Italy's tactics are working really well so far. Spain's are not."

  • 39'

    So nearly an opening for Iniesta as he tries to make Silva's pass. It's all a little too delicate. Xavi crosses this time and Fabregas is penalised for leaning into Maggio.

  • 38'

    Odds on a Mario red card? Shortening every minute.

  • 37'

    The ref has lost patience with Super Mario and he is carded for a late trip on Jordi Alba.

  • 36'

    Superb volley from Marchisio as he whacks a cross on goal from 22 yards but it is right at Casillas. Great technical skill, or 'tekkers' if you prefer.

  • 35'

    That recent spell of action has curtailed the Mexican wave, which can only be a good thing.

  • 33'

    A poor pass from Fabregas ends a promising Spain move before Cassano cuts into the box and forces an unconvincing parry from Casillas. As Mario goes for the loose ball he trips Pique, then punches the air wildly as the free kick goes against him.

  • 32'

    Cassano trips Casillas as the keeper tries a crazy move past him with the ball at his feet inside the box. He wants a card but it is no more than a word from the ref.

  • 31'

    Three Italy players crowd out Iniesta then Xavi is clattered on the box edge but the referee waves play on. That was surely a foul.

  • 30'

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  • 30'

    As the corner is cleared to Iniesta, he thumps a shot on goal that Buffon is across to catch.

  • 29'

    Excellent from Iniesta, who beats Maggio and crosses to the back post but Chiellini gets an important flick on the cross as Xavi lurked with intent.

  • 28'

    The ultimate indictment of the opening 27 minutes - a Mexican wave has started. Good Lord help us.

  • 27'

    Chiellini takes two or three swipes at Xavi's ankles before the ref awards Spain a free kick. Xavi takes, poorly.

  • 26'

    A free kick awarded against Balotelli - a decision he takes with reasonable grace.

  • 24'

    Brilliant one-two between Iniesta and Silva but Chiellini blocks his shot once he'd sashayed into the box.

  • 23'

    I'm up for a goal me. Anyone else?

  • 22'

    An opening for Cassano as he turns Pique and drags a shot wide of the far post. One of those that looks close because of the camera angle, but on the replay is a good three yards wide.

  • 21'

    A waste of possession from Giaccherni as Italy try to get some purchase in the attacking third. A rousing chorus from the Spanish fans, who far outnumber their counterparts.

  • 20'

    Xavi to Silva to Fabregas but the former Arsenal man was flagged offside, even though replays show he was level.

  • 19'

    But the lack of a focal point is definitely noticeable for Spain.

  • 18'

    Playing six midfielders means there is always a posse of players in red shirts closing down those in blue when they have possession. Great pressing.

  • 17'

    Motta takes a tumble after a challenge from Arbeloa and Italy put the ball out of play. Looks like Arbeloa's studs caught Motta's hip after he won the ball.

  • 16'

    Xavi tries to float a ball over the top for Iniesta but Chiellini nods away.

  • 15'

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  • 15'

    Good block from De Rossi as Silva tried to bend a shot into the far corner. Spain looking lovely in possession as always.

  • 14'

    Developing into a good game this. Italy will be pleased with their start.

  • 13'

    Balotelli dummies and Pirlo takes - Casillas saves on the bounce. Comfortable parry though.

  • 12'

    Surprisingly, De Rossi wasn't carded when play broke but now Italy hit back. Ramos fouls Cassano right on the edge of the box after Spain had cleared Maggio's cross into the mixer.

  • 11'

    Balotelli's misplaced header sets Spain away three on two but after Fabregas finds Silva he scuffs his shot right at Buffon. Good refereeing after Cesc was clattered by De Rossi.

  • 10'

    Super Mario's chance to reply with a shot of his own - a decent strike but it was always rising. It took a nick though. Corner

  • 9'

    The first slice of menace from Spain after that nice move. From the corner the ball is worked out to Silva who lashes a shot a few yards over the angle of post and crossbar from 25 yards.

  • 8'

    Superb challenge from De Rossi as Spain try to find space for a shot in the box. Silva and Fabregas had chances to shoot but the centre back was across to concede a corner.

  • 7'

    An intricate corner routine plot from Italy is foiled by Xavi as Cassano tried to flick the ball across the face of goal.

  • 6'

    The pitch looks as if it hasn't been watered, which means the ball is snagging a little bit. Not ideal for Spain.

  • 5'

    A lovely passage of passing from Italy, then a foul given for an Alba challenge on Maggio. Unfairly in my opinion.

  • 4'

    Balotelli's first involvement as he fails to keep a wild shank from Pirlo in play.

  • 3'

    Spain win the game's first corner and it induces mild panic in Italy's box before Chiellini clears.

  • 2'

    Fabregas is indeed the most advanced player for Spain.

  • 1'

    KICK OFF arrives with a full on countdown from the crowd. Hmm, not sure about that...


    And as the teams emerge into a superb looking stadium in Gdansk, we are all set to get our first glimpse of Italy and Spain. Both led by goalkeeping captains of course.


    Everyone has gone a little fluttery upon receiving news of Spain's no striker plan. It'll be interesting to see how it works in practice. Of course, there will be lots of neat, short passes, but can they translate possession into a tangible cutting edge?


    Spain's build up hasn't been ideal either with titans of the World Cup winning side, David Villa and Carles Puyol, missing through injury. But they have won 41 of their last 45 competitive fixtures, and carried a 100% record through qualifying. They are favourites for a very good reason.


    Of course, Italy's preparation was tainted by a fresh match-fixing scandal which even afflicted one of their Euro 2012 squad - Domenico Criscito - who was swiftly removed. But the previous scandal, the Calciopoli affair back in 2006, didn't stop them winning the World Cup that year.


    If you go by the last major tournament these two great footballing nations participated in, there is only one winner. Spain lifted the World Cup for the first time, while Italy finished bottom of a group that consisted of New Zealand, Slovakia and Paraguay.


    As for Italy, they look like they've gone for a 3-5-2 formation with the explosive combo of Cassano and Balotelli up front. There could be more red cards than goals from that pair.


    The big news is that Spain have opted not to play Llorente, Negredo or Torres. They are playing without a striker at all in fact, with Cesc Fabregas operating as a false nine with David Silva and Andres Iniesta in support.


    To get you in the mood why not have a little read of James Dall's handy little scene setter before we get knee deep in team news.


    Afternoon all, welcome along to live coverage of another mouthwatering Euro 2012 clash between World and European champions Spain and Italy, who aren't half bad themselves.


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