• FT

    Spain

    1

    Italy

    1

  • FT

    Rep of Ire

    1

    Croatia

    3

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Arena Gdansk, Poland

Attendance: 43615

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Spain

  • Cesc Fábregas 64'

1 - 1

FT

Italy

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

    James Tyler: I've been James Tyler, cheers to you all. Back tomorrow for ENGLAND v. FRANCE.

  •  

    James Tyler: Enjoy Roger's preview of the next game (linked a little bit further up the page) and enjoy the game itself! May Robbie Keane do to the Croats what Fernando Torres used to be able to do to opponents.

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    Great chat as always. Only flaw is that it ends before the 2nd match!

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Thanks for the chat all. I raise my bottle of Boddington's to you.

  •  

    James Tyler: Sorry, Chad. We must move on. No live chat for Croatia-Ireland, but we'll do our best to banter in social networking land until tomorrow's Group D clash of the wobbly titans.

  •  

    [Comment from Chad (GFOP)]
    Does the chat continue with a through ball to the next game?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Here's my preview of the next game. http://espnfc.com/us/en/news/1092392/bennettireland-v-croatia-preview.html

  •  

    James Tyler: Follow us on Twitter:
    @rogbennett
    @JeffreyCarlisle
    @JamesTylerESPN

    Check back tomorrow for a live chat of ENGLAND v. FRANCE: The Group D Ennui Super Bowl.

  •  

    James Tyler: And so, thanks to Jeff from Gdansk (busy with the postgame wrap), Roger Bennett from Men In Blazers-land, and of course, I'll thank myself.

  •  

    James Tyler: Bold thought, Selwyn. It's always been Robbie Keane's dream to go top of Group C.

  •  

    [Comment from Selwyn]
    Ireland to go top this afternoon

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Exquisite game of football... cannot wait for Ireland Spain Thurs... Richard Dunne to mow down the Spanish threat. Magic stuff.

  •  

    [Comment from GregP (GFOP)]
    cheers. thank you!

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    James Tyler leaves with his reputation enhanced!

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    Iniesta, lively, skilled, pasty

  •  

    [Comment from Tim]
    This was a fantastic match!

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: FULL TIME! AND I WAS RIGHT. Spain 1, Italy 1. Honors even as a cagey game explodes into wild abandon for the final half-hour. Good goals by both sides, but plenty of squandered opportunities. And if you're Fernando Torres, you pray for the ground to open up and swallow you whole. Wasted more chances by himself in a 16 minute cameo than Spain mustered in the entire first half.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yeah, go on then. Iniesta. Decent. Lively.

  •  

    [Comment from Southy]
    Why isnt Iniesta a candidate for man of the match

  •  

    [Comment from Tommy]
    What about iniesta for MOTM? I think he's been fantastic

  •  

    [Comment from Austin]
    Iniesta not man of the match?

  •  

    James Tyler: Arbeloa overhits his cross. Cue the wolf-whistling.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Fernando Torres: actual GOAT.

  •  

    [Comment from Bethany]
    Rog, could you write on Torres like you did for Ronaldo (for those of us who are new)? How did he get 'broken' and what was he before?

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Spain threaten and it is played back to Xabi Alonso, but the Real Madrid man's shot is comfortably wide.

  •  

    James Tyler: He hasn't played the full 90, Dan. Hard to root for, despite the goal.

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    Why isn't di Natale a candidate for man of the match?

  •  

    [Comment from Cole]
    Italy have shown they can compete this year, unlike WC 2010.

  •  

    James Tyler: TWO MINUTES OF ADDED TIME REMAINING

  •  

    James Tyler: Torres does well down the left but his cut-back pass into the box is poorly directed. Italy clear. Pace is slowing.

  •  

    [Comment from Jason]
    Nocerino is winning the Daniele De Rossi Lookalike Contest

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Torres is a coward, much like Falstaff. He fears the ball at his feet.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Xabi Alonso skies the free-kick. Shame.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Mark. Torres tattoo is his name in Lord of The Rings language

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ITALY: Antonio Nocerino on, Motta off.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think it's just "Being Rubbish."

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    If the "Redemption of Fernando Torres" is a tragedy, what's his character flaw? vanity?

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE FOR ITALY! A sumptuous move by Claudio Marchisio but his shot is right at Casillas. Spain breaks and Maggio slides through Iniesta to break up the play. Yellow card for the wing-back.

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    With lots of people getting hurt? Or flopping in Torres case?

  •  

    [Comment from Mark]
    What does the elvish tattoo say? My money is on "You shall not pass!"

  •  

    James Tyler: Hang about! Good move by Navas down the right but his low cross is easy for a pro like Buffon.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nah, I was thinking overwrought Spider Man-esque musical.

  •  

    [Comment from Mista]
    We all know the "Redemption of Fernando Torres" is a tragedy.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    FREE FERNANDO LLORENTE!!

  •  

    [Comment from Fernando Llorente]
    Can I please, please, please play the next game!

  •  

    James Tyler: Curse of JRR Tolkien, John? New conspiracy theory for me. I like it.

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    Torres has not been the same since he got that elvish script on his arm

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    The Redemption of Fernando Torres is clearly still in previews on Broadway.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Torres' plight continues. I have never felt more sympathy for a bloke who makes over 200K a week

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    Could have through-balled to Navas for an easy score

  •  

    [Comment from Cole]
    Good lord Torres, more wasteful than Liverpool as a team this year!

  •  

    James Tyler: TORRES! Again he squanders it. At the top of the box, he does brilliantly to create room for a shot. Plays an artful lob but its overhit. Buffon unclenches.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yellow card for Fernando Torres. What a fun seven minutes he's had thus far. Appeared that he held his elbow out near Daniele De Rossi. Scandalous!

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Del Bosque just put Torres on to prove to the world why he did not choose to play him

  •  

    James Tyler: Yellow card for Alvaro Arbeloa.

  •  

    James Tyler: Dear Oh Dear. We're seeing Just-Moved-To-Chelsea Torres. He has room to run down the right, holds it up well for his teammate but the pass is weak and intercepted.

  •  

    James Tyler: Xabi Alonso lunges at Giovinco, not even touching him, but the ref does give him a talking-to. Was a Cattermolian attempt at a challenge.

  •  

    James Tyler: How dare the Gunners only give Cole that pathetic wage packet. Enough to make me vomit in my Italian loafers.

  •  

    [Comment from Justin]
    Good Friend of the Pod (Men in Blazers)

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Brilliant James. Yes. Ashley had to pull over whilst driving when his agent told him about the insult of that offer

  •  

    James Tyler: Thiago Motta fouls Jordi Alba. A slightly faster tiki-taka from Spain on the restart.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ha ha, Roger. Reminds me of the existential pain of Ashley Cole's memoir. Arsenal ONLY offered him 55k a week! Only! Poor pauper.

  •  

    [Comment from Cole]
    What does GFOP stand for?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I have rarely felt more sympathy for a man who makes 200K a week than for Nando

  •  

    James Tyler: Xavi hits the free kick into the wall. Disappointing.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I hope he does. I really do

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Nando will score or I will revoke my GFOP status!

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick for Spain at the edge of the box following good work by Torres and Iniesta. Chiellini goes in the book for upending the Barca midfielder.

  •  

    James Tyler: Twelve minutes remaining... is there a twist in the tale?

  •  

    James Tyler: He put in a brilliant shift, Mista.

  •  

    [Comment from Mista]
    Don't think Italy should have taken Cassano off as he was by far their most dangerous player.

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE FOR ITALY! Giovinco dinks in a lovely far-post cross for Di Natale, who did wonderfully to ghost away from Sergio Ramos. Sadly, the striker's difficult volley is wide from close range.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Torres on and hesitant. Del Bosque really is insistent about that no-striker thing....#euro2012

  •  

    James Tyler: Busquets wastes a wide-open header inside the 12-yard box.

  •  

    James Tyler: Copies Balotelli in being clean through on goal, beating the offside trap but giving Buffon ample opportunity to dispossess the Chelsea striker WITHOUT EVEN DIVING. Seriously, Buffon could play CB with skill like that.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: And that wont help

  •  

    James Tyler: WOW, EL NINO.

  •  

    James Tyler: Also, not sure if any of you followed my Man City-Man United live chat back in May, but I did call a 1-0 City scoreline and I did predict Vinny Kompany would score the winning goal. Sorry though that I won't provide lottery numbers.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Poor Nando Torres. Looks great physically. But he must be all "Christopher Walken at the end of the Deer Hunter" mentally. First the champions league final... now this

  •  

    James Tyler: Don't be mean, Bryce.

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    Cue 2 goals from Torres to completely ruin James Tyler's reputation.

  •  

    James Tyler: SIXTEEN MINUTES REMAINING

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR SPAIN: Fabregas off, FERNANDO TORRES on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Volley for Jordi Alba unmarked at the back post but he lashes it wide.

  •  

    James Tyler: Being a humble man, I'll say #2, Jeff.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    James, this is the outcome you predicted. (1) Inside information? or (2) Prophet Genius? or (3) Complete stab in the dark, I'm not that bright?

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Italians looking leggy. With Torrescomig on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Navas is causing a modicum of havoc on the right. And Fernando Torres is warming up. I'm already in shellshock from seeing Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko resurrect their careers on Friday; am I prepared to see El Nino do the same in the final 15 minutes?

  •  

    James Tyler: Iniesta and Fabregas combine down the left but it's snuffed out. End to end stuff now.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely slide by Pique to deny a through-ball for Giovinco, who was through on goal.

  •  

    [Comment from Some guy]
    Dear announcers: please pronounce Gdansk correctly! guh-dine-sk not gah-dan-sk

  •  

    James Tyler: Pique wins the header at the back post but Sergio Ramos is too aggressive in pursuit of the follow-up. Free-kick for Italy.

  •  

    James Tyler: Navas' cross from the right is deflected over the goal. Corner for Spain. Both teams looking electric now.

  •  

    James Tyler: Daniele De Rossi looks like Charlie Day on steroids.

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    I'm really disappointed that the only person with a mustache is Vicente del Bosque. I expect better out of Italy

  •  

    James Tyler: Alright, need to regroup and figure out the new formations. Giovinco for Cassano is a fairly straight swap. I'm more curious about how Navas' on-field brief will differ from that of David Silva, who seemed to spend most of the game tucked in behind Fabregas.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jordi Alba has a yellow card. So there's that.

  •  

    James Tyler: Amazing that Spain suddenly exploded to life once they conceded. Could have forced the tempo all along, yet chose to slow-play its hand.

  •  

    [Comment from Scotty]
    Vincent Del Bosque looks like a man who owns a Doberman.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    The intro of Giovinco has swayed the balance of height in the Spainish favor.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    Giovinco might be the only player smaller than the Spaniards

  •  

    James Tyler: Handbags! Scenes! Iniesta is crunched by Bonucci and the Italian defender is in the book. Yellow card.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Anything Pirlo can do, David Silva can also do. De Rossi air-punch in frustration.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: GIOVINCO. love this gent. looks like the paciest baby ever to kick a ball. next 25 minutes are going to be magic

  •  

    [Comment from Nick Christie (GFOP)]
    Fabregas spits on your "need" for a striker...

  •  

    [Comment from Chad (GFOP)]
    This game just went from good to epic.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ITALY: Cassano off, Sebastian Giovinco is on

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR SPAIN: David Silva off, Jesus Navas on. IT IS WINGER TIME.

  •  

    [Comment from GreatGooglyMoogly]
    Now that is TIKI-TAKA!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: The much-maligned Fabregas scuttles inside his marker to meet the through-ball and guide it past a helpless Buffon.

  •  

    James Tyler: TIKI-TAKA GOAL

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: EQUALIZER!

  •  

    James Tyler: Only just starting, guest?

  •  

    [Comment from guest]
    james, i'm starting to think you don't know anything about soccer.

  •  

    [Comment from Martin]
    Pizza, Pasta, Pirlo. Italy has it all and it is all good.

  •  

    James Tyler: Suddenly the Spaniards have some impetus. Jordi Alba squares for Iniesta, but his shot is right in Buffon's stomach.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good point, Movement up Front!

  •  

    [Comment from Movement up Front]
    Cassano's early run toward the far post opens up space for the pass and strike. Great run!

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Please let us see Torres!

  •  

    [Comment from Mista]
    Cassano is running like crazy out there.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Lovely by Pirlo. Peeeeeeerlo.

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    WHAT A THROUGH BALL BY PIRLO

  •  

    [Comment from kydetwsoc]
    and of course, it's a pirlo pass, he's winning the "battle of the Brains"

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    SPAIN HAS TO SUB NOW, RIGHT?!?!?

  •  

    James Tyler: Andrea Pirlo threads the needle and Di Natale scampers through, elegantly stroking it with his right instep past the advancing Iker Casillas. Game on!

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Never have I been happier to hear that interminable White Stripes song.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Italy score: most surprising thing about the goal was that Fernando Torres was able to contain his fist pump of delight from the bench

  •  

    [Comment from BSKazzy]
    GOAAAAAAAAL!

  •  

    [Comment from Stephen]
    di Natale is a sniper

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    Wow, that was nice

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    With Cesc leading the line this Spanish team is officially smallest ever eclipsing Lilliputian national team who played briefly in the 50s

  •  

    [Comment from JeffreyCarlisle via Twitter]
    Still lots of fans left to take their seats here in Gdansk, but so far, fan ratio is about 3:1 in favor of Spain. #Euro2012 #ESP #ITA

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL, ITALY! SUPER SUB ANTONIO DI NATALE!

  •  

    [Comment from Francis]
    DDR is playing phenomenal today

  •  

    James Tyler: You can practically feel the heat emanating from Balotelli on the bench. Surely unhappy to be removed. Could power 1,000 homes on his exothermic output.

  •  

    James Tyler: Moments later, Di Natale is flagged for offside.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wait, they lose possession and Arbeloa hugs Cassano to the turf. Cue the whistles.

  •  

    James Tyler: There's a taka.

  •  

    James Tyler: Bit more tiki.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tiki-Taka.

  •  

    [Comment from Marvin]
    Neither Red Card or POST has upped their game today. Quiet game from both.

  •  

    James Tyler: And so it's Cesare Prandelli who blinks first in the grand chess match that is substitution.

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    Rog, the thought of comparing Balotelli to Squeeky Fromme is strangely intriguing

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ITALY: Balotelli off, Di Natale on. Shame. No red card OR goal for Super Mario.

  •  

    James Tyler: More good work by Balotelli down the right flank but his long pass for Cassano is underhit.

  •  

    James Tyler: I just can't believe Spain is actually advocating a second-half gameplan involving shots on goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: Cassano does well to hold up the ball and shuffle infield, but his shot is a mile wide of goal. A literal mile, I'd wager.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Balo! That was like watching an assassin feel a tinge of remorse as he prepared to pull the trigger

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Balo was thinking about his celebration!

  •  

    [Comment from kembatime]
    The best and worst of Mario Balotelli....

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    BALOTELLI BLEW IT

  •  

    [Comment from Zach]
    WHAT THE HELL BALOTELLI

  •  

    James Tyler: DEAR OH DEAR, MARIO! Gets lucky to dispossess Sergio Ramos and has the goal at his mercy, but he inexplicably slows up and allows Ramos to recover and slide in.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Val Kilmer to the rescue

  •  

    James Tyler: Italy has eight behind the ball to frustrate Spain's movement. As such, the ball is getting shuttled from side to side without much incision.

  •  

    James Tyler: I mean, you don't think I'm actually watching, do you?

  •  

    James Tyler: Sorry!

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    It was actually Buffon's fingertips!

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Fabregas plays Iniesta through on goal, but the Barca man hammers it wide from a narrow angle. Inches outside the far post, and on replay looks like De Rossi's boot deflected it.

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! From a broken bit of play, the ball sits up nicely for Xavi unmarked from 25 yards but he blasts it wide.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    The more time draws on, the more Gianluigi Buffon looks like Richie Aprile from the Sopranos.

  •  

    [Comment from TX Gooner]
    He should go all out and bring on a 7th midfielder

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Fabregas shoots from the edge of the box and forces a fine save from Buffon. Spain wins a corner but takes it short and loses possession.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think Del Bosque was thinking that the speed and mobility would unlock Italy. Not so. Far from it.

  •  

    [Comment from GregP (GFOP)]
    Was Del Bosque thinking all those midfielders would move the ball further forward, whether they could finish or not?

  •  

    James Tyler: Well done, Ben. About the only striker in world soccer not applicable here.

  •  

    [Comment from Ben]
    Emile Heskey?

  •  

    James Tyler: Worth noting that a draw here really ups the ante for Ireland and Croatia later today. If either of those sides forces a win, that's a leg-up in the group.

  •  

    James Tyler: Think they're lacking (insert striker here).

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Two words that Spain are lacking David Villa.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chiellini concedes a foul just inside the Italian half. Spain takes it short. Repeat tiki-taka.

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off again. More of the same.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Right, the players emerge, no doubt revived and confident in their convictions.

  •  

    [Comment from Ash]
    Nickname for Cassano-Balo partnership. One turns into a rage monster the other has a mecha-repaired heart. The Avengers.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fair point, Tom, but Llorente would at least cause more problems than Xavi and Fabregas on headers.

  •  

    [Comment from Tom]
    James, I know Llorente is good in the air, but so is Chiellini, Spain lack pace right now and Negredo and Torres are both faster than Llorente

  •  

    James Tyler: Would have been good, Rory. I saw a recent picture of French icon Djibril Cisse; he'd opted for the bold half-dyed goatee/half-dyed hair. Good look for a legend.

  •  

    [Comment from Rory]
    Balo should have dyed his hair in the italian colors

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Spain should play more like England: big fella Llorente to nod high balls on target all afternoon.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: "or even Torres" says Ballack.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @Fredorrarci love that team.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Stu. New Balo Haircut 100% expected. Not a lot to work with there... expect a color change

  •  

    James Tyler: De Rossi and Chiellini can handle the quick-passing smurfs with ease.

  •  

    James Tyler: If I was Vicente Del Bosque, I'd stretch the play. Bring me my finest winger from the bench. Deploy. Drop the big fella Llorente in to do Crouchian things with his imposing forehead.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Opta stats: Spain vs. Italy HT stats: Shots 8-7 On target 2-4 Possession 63%-37% Fouls 7-10.

  •  

    [Comment from Tom]
    Bryce, forget Llorente, Spain need torres to open up the game with his pace

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    I'm sure Italy will keep things as is. I'm sure they'd take a draw if you offered it right now.

  •  

    [Comment from Stu]
    Perhaps a new Balotelli haircut?

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    Llorente or Jesus Navas have to be the first sub on. Maybe Pedro as well.

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Spain's 4-6-0 is formational Xanax.

  •  

    James Tyler: Smelling salts, Rog?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Wonder what adjustments we will see in this second half? Di Natale? Llorente?

  •  

    James Tyler: Because he's Daniele De Rossi. Who's going to tell him he shouldn't?

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    Why does di Rossi wear one long sleeve?

  •  

    James Tyler: So, stalemate after 45 minutes. Been an enthralling game despite the lack of goals. Spain's 4-2-3-1-0 is NOT WORKING.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Chiellini and De Rossi immense: Like watching Ser Gregor Clegane and The Hound savoring battle against an army of Spanish Tyrion Lannisters

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Cassano, Casillas, Pirlo and David Silva all up for it. The rest need some electro-shock therapy.

  •  

    [Comment from GregP (GFOP)]
    Rog, that's not peroxide on mario head. It's gold lamé.

  •  

    [Comment from Mista]
    Brilliant play cassano!

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Fine reflex save to deny Motta's close-range header. Lovely cross by Cassano.

  •  

    [Comment from Chris]
    Cassano reminds me of the bayern stricker Ivica Olic, just a workhorse running all over the final 3rd hopefully hes rewarded for that

  •  

    [Comment from joe]
    will mario get sent off today?

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Xavi to Iniesta but the Barca boy snatches at the volley and puts too much power in his shot. It goes over the bar. Sadness.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Slick play again by David Silva (one of Spain's brighter players thus far) and he slips Fabregas through on goal. The ex-Arsenal captain's shock is blocked out for a corner, and Xavi's set-piece is cleared.

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    I wonder if Spain played Fabregas up top anticipating a 4-4-2.

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, now Chiellini is hurt following a slide by Sergio Busquet. Wait, he's fine!

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @sousvidekitchen I get it but still stunning to watch

  •  

    James Tyler: No, he's just rubbish, Juan Doe.

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    James, is Torres injured?

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Now, if Mick Harford and not Cesc had been on the end of that cross, then Spain would be 1-0 up. #euro2012

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    With a game like this, Llorrente's appearance is inevitable. 45 minutes? 60?

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick to Italy as Fabregas shoves Maggio down as the pair fight under a cross.

  •  

    James Tyler: SOMEONE SHOOT! Iniesta stonewalled by Bonucci as again Spain ambles close to goal but attempts to pass it in.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Cassano looking very Craig Bellamy-esque thus far.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Cassano very busy this far. Very Craig Bellamy-esque.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good work by Iniesta to tease his way into the box on the left, but four defenders converge on him and Italy clears.

  •  

    James Tyler: Bit lame, really; he trips Jordi Alba but barely makes contact. Appeared to be for the accumulation of fouls than anything else.

  •  

    [Comment from Silvas left foot]
    Can someone place two left footed boots on Silva so he will shoot with both?

  •  

    [Comment from Chad]
    This game is heating up. What a strike!

  •  

    James Tyler: Balotelli in bother again, and this time earns his YELLOW CARD.

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Cassano scampers onto a loose ball down the left. His square pass finds Marchisio and the midfielder's rasping volley is right at Casillas.

  •  

    [Comment from Terry]
    Spain 6 shots- 2 on goal; Italy has 4 shots- 1 on goal.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Sergio Busquets has been a big influence on Iker Casillas. As has Fernando Torres: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icJTYQqdlzY

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Spain playing long balls. #bizarroja

  •  

    [Comment from Avi]
    I like that no card. Especially after Greece Poland

  •  

    [Comment from GregP (GFOP)]
    Does the turf have a lawyer?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Balo's reputation earned spain that foul. I love his commitment though in this game.

  •  

    James Tyler: A lovely long pass by Pirlo springs an Italian attack that culminates in a fine save from Casillas off Cassano. Then Balotelli Balotellis a Spanish defender. Panic over.

  •  

    James Tyler: Spain looks more like Arsenal than Barcelona. Another shooting chance is spurned in favor of a cut back -- Fabregas centered it when he should have shot -- and Italy clear.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Spain seemingly subscribing to the theory that goals are overrated. "Have a dig," as they used to say the Moss Rose. #euro2012

  •  

    James Tyler: @Jeff -- I have performed the statsie dance in hopes of summoning someone with the numbers. Will get back to you.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    Is Jason on today? Curious of shooting stats and possession?

  •  

    James Tyler: Fabregas makes a good run but Buffon snaffles the long ball intended for Spain's "False Nine/Ten/Eleven."

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, hang about! Cassano cheekily clips Casillas, who did linger in possession a bit longer than one would have expected! Crowd hoots and hollers for a booking but the Milan striker escapes with a stern word from the man with the whistle.

  •  

    James Tyler: Italy holds firm after a few Spanish players came close to actually shooting on goal.

  •  

    [Comment from Scotty]
    Insane Clown Posse

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @CuriousGeorger incisive!

  •  

    [Comment from Terry]
    Too bad Cassano's name isn't Luigi.

  •  

    [Comment from Will]
    The Odd Couple

  •  

    [Comment from kalud]
    the bash bros?

  •  

    James Tyler: Half-chance for Spain as Iniesta scuttles inside the box, but his back-post cross for Xavi (of all people) is nodded behind by Chiellini. Corner is overhit but Iniesta does force a fine low save by Buffon.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    This Cassano-Balotelli strike partnership needs a good nickname.

  •  

    James Tyler: Xabi Alonso steps on Maggio to concede another free-kick.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Seeing Spain labor like this only makes you realize how hard the passing game they have mastered is to pull of.

  •  

    [Comment from Need Villa]
    No striker for Spain is showing. The lack of intelligent runs AWAY from the ball (where Pedro and Villa excel) up front is leaving it congested at the back. Too many Italians between the ball and goal to get a good shot.

  •  

    James Tyler: Buffon. What a man. So dashing.

  •  

    James Tyler: Xavi lofts it in but easily cleared. Then David Silva mishits his cross straight to Gigi Buffon.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chiellini manhandles Xavi and concedes a free-kick. Decent position: 35 yards out, left of goa.

  •  

    [Comment from Mista]
    De Rossi is playing very well back there.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUPER MARIO WATCH: Trips Alvaro Arbeloa on the right flank. Free-kick for Spain.

  •  

    [Comment from Stu]
    Both these teams look better than anything I saw from yesterday Group B matches

  •  

    James Tyler: Cassano marginally offside... was clean through with room to run had he held his run an extra second.

  •  

    James Tyler: @Marvin -- was a different Italy side that day. Experimental and nervy.

  •  

    [Comment from Marvin]
    Italy looks good today. How did the US beat this team?

  •  

    James Tyler: Decent game thus far. Thoughts?

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Lovely move by Cassano to get clear down the right side of the box but his shot goes wide from a narrow angle. Casillas appeared to be beaten.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's possible, Bryce. I also think Prandelli is trying to play to his strengths -- some injured defenders in the run-up to this game forced the reshuffle.

  •  

    [Comment from Bryce]
    Do you reckon that Juventus's league success is what prompted this 3-5-2?

  •  

    James Tyler: Fabregas flagged for offside down the left wing. He waves a finger at the ref. Twenty minutes gone and Italy look a far cry from the thuggish, parked-bus stereotype/cliche.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: De Rossi relishing his orders to knock over all oncoming smurfs on sight. One long sleeve. One short sleeve. The man has sensitive skin.

  •  

    James Tyler: Reminders: this one's on ESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPNRadio.com if you're struggling to find a place to partake.

  •  

    James Tyler: OOOH. Long ball for Cassano -- artfully played by Pirlo -- is cut out by Casillas. Menacing, that.

  •  

    James Tyler: Silly, Greg. Soccer took off a long time ago, despite your protestations.

  •  

    [Comment from Greg]
    I'm sorry, but this is why soccer will never take off in the US, even when played at a high caliber. Americans love tough guys, not grown men who flop around crying like little girls when the slightest of contact is made.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Xavi has been pushing high up the field in a bid to deny Pirlo the ball. Italy still able to play around it so far.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Greg and Mike. I think you have glimpsed the future. Venerated goalkeepers. tiny midfielders. Wet Hair Gel. And Sir Ian Dark. If that's the future, i'll take it

  •  

    [Comment from Justin]
    Wow that spray must be really magical

  •  

    James Tyler: VIOLENCE! Arbeloa sticks his leg high to cut out a pass for Thiago Motta and catches the Italian on the shoulder on the follow-through. Naturally, Motta plays for the Oscar/sympathy card. Miraculously he recovers.

  •  

    James Tyler: In the modern game, everyone must be everything in a starting XI. Except if you're Andy Carroll.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    And if Italy wins, it could be the end of defenders

  •  

    [Comment from GregP (GFOP)]
    If Spain scores, this could spell the end of strikers in association football as we know it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure I agree -- the opening 15 in Warsaw was fun if you were a Poland supporter. But this is a fine alternative.

  •  

    [Comment from Cole]
    I think this has been the most entertaining opening 15 minutes of the tournament so far. Really nice football from both sides.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fabregas lays it off for Silva to have another crack, but his shot from the edge of the box is blocked by De Rossi.

  •  

    [Comment from dr eng1ish]
    Pirlo looks like he could be anywhere from 30-60 years old

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Pirlo takes the free kick and gets it through the meat of the wall, but Casillas does well to read it and parry the shot to safety. Italians revved up now. This is far from the bus-park/tiki-taka game most will have expected.

  •  

    [Comment from Joe]
    Just so we're clear, Pirlo is my unmarried cat lady aunt, right?

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Pirlo - still peerless. #euro2012

  •  

    [Comment from Shorter is Better]
    I'm liking Ramos' new haircut. He looks a lot less like a horse.

  •  

    [Comment from James S]
    would you/could you see Mata or Torres as early spain subs if they are not ahead?

  •  

    James Tyler: OOOH. Free-kick for Italy at the edge of the box. Busquets gives it away to Cassano and then Sergio Ramos does what Ramos does best. Ergo, free-kick. On the replay it looked like the Milan striker tumbled, but he'll never tell.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Italy initially skittish. hard to appreciate how mentally tiring it is to play against this Spanish movement

  •  

    James Tyler: Great break by Spain but David Silva's left-footed shot inside the box is a daisy-cutter. Meat and drink for Buffon.

  •  

    James Tyler: Thinking RED CARD might be more influential. Given how much these two sides look to harass the referees after every foul, that's my shout.

  •  

    [Comment from Sven]
    James, will POST have a good game today?

  •  

    James Tyler: Shot! Cassano does well to get infield following some good possession. He finds Balotelli, though the wild man's shot is deflected wide by Busquets. Pirlo's delivery is easily cleared by Xabi Alonso.

  •  

    James Tyler: Xavi's corner is met at the back post by Pique but the header's cleared. Ball drops for David Silva a few seconds later but he larrups his shot comfortably over the bar.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tiki! Good interplay by David Silva and Fabregas inside the box but neither can get a shot in as Daniele De Rossi gets in the way.

  •  

    James Tyler: You took the bait, Jeff; Rooney won't be playing until the third group game. Knowing England, might be irrelevant by then.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    Rog, since when is Rooney not a recognized striker?

  •  

    James Tyler: Pirlo goes short -- looked like a planned play but Iniesta reads it and counters via Fabregas. The Italians sprint back into bus formation. Recommence tiki taka.

  •  

    James Tyler: Italy pumps a long ball down the left flank and wins a corner as Arbeloa chests out the pass intended for Giaccherini.

  •  

    [Comment from Sven]
    Tiki Taka -> Tackle might be a good forecast of this game

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick for Italy as Christian Maggio is chopped down by Jordi "Highly-Touted" Alba. Pirlo swings it in but Fabregas clears at the near post.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Roy Hodgson no doubt taking keen notes as England also intend to play without a recognized striker

  •  

    James Tyler: Taka

  •  

    James Tyler: Tiki

  •  

    Roger Bennett: balotelli was rumored to be wearing his ghanaian name on the back of his jersey as a tribute to his heritage in the wake of the racism allegations. does not look like it happened

  •  

    James Tyler: A few light jabs from both sides in the first three minutes. Contrary to popular belief, Spain hasn't held 99% of the possession.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Wolf-whistles abound as De Rossi puts in the first crunching challenge and concedes a corner.

  •  

    [Comment from Crazy...]
    "Half Genius. Half Jesse Owens."

  •  

    [Comment from Avi]
    "call me maybe" -- undershirt

  •  

    James Tyler: Early ball forward for Cescnando Torresegas but Bonucci mops up the danger.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off!

  •  

    James Tyler: "I Love Me"

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Predictions on Balotelli's undershirt?

  •  

    James Tyler: @Juan Doe: it's the majestic Sirius by the Alan Parsons Project. Marvelous pump-up tune

  •  

    [Comment from juan doe]
    I can't believe we got Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan warmup music blaring right now...

  •  

    [Comment from Nick Christie (GFOP)]
    Rog: To quote Major Lawrence: "Big things have small beginnings."

  •  

    James Tyler: Highly-touted left-back, Terry. Had a superb club season in La Liga.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Distant cousin of Jordi La Forge.

  •  

    [Comment from Terry]
    Who is Jordi Alba?

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Will Spain confirm its continued majesty or augur its own gradual downfall? Join us: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/story/_/id/8030873/spain-vs-italy

  •  

    James Tyler: Eric: there's the dichotomy. Could be a confirmation of their class or signs that their dynasty is ending.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    Spain doubling down on the tica-taca. Going to be proof of the greatest national team ever or a tiny toy train wreck.

  •  

    [Comment from Thom]
    Spain, 3-1

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    while spain dont like to play outwide, i can't help but feel that italy's formation will give them the chance to play tons of arsenal cutbacks into the six yard box.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: One prediction Jeff: Poor Nando Torres wil not sleep well tonight

  •  

    James Tyler: Prediction: Spain 1, Italy 1.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Spain, 2-0.

  •  

    James Tyler: ANTHEM WATCH: Easy to see why Spain is current world and Euro champ. Magisterial chord progression and plenty of rhythmic bounce.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    As the camera pans this Spain line-up, Oompa Loompas, Smurfs, Lilliputians around the world are caused to snort, "These Spaniards are tiny"

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    How about some predictions guys?

  •  

    [Comment from Littlefinger]
    Spain - House Targaryen; Italy - House Greyjoy (Mario Balotelli - Robert Arryn??)

  •  

    James Tyler: Can he do both at the same time?

  •  

    [Comment from rafi]
    which happens first: balotelli scores or balotelli gets sent off?

  •  

    James Tyler: ANTHEM WATCH: Plenty of verve and jaunt in this Italian ditty. Players aren't falling for it, a murderer's row of focused, well-stubbled individuals.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @RichJolly @zonal_marking @johnbrewinespn ha ha

  •  

    [Comment from Chad]
    Rog! Welcome. Great friend of the pod here.

  •  

    James Tyler: Don't think so, guest. It looks crazy but is versatile. Maggio and Giaccherini will be box-to-box on the wing. Will not be averse to sitting deep is Spain are tiki-taka

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Guest, I think De Rossi will push up into midfield when needed, kind of like Busquets did for Barcelona at times this past season.

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, Roger!

  •  

    James Tyler: Perhaps, jeff, but with room out wide, the likes of Jesus Navas could be crucial in stretching the play later on.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    Is Italy looking to park the bus here? Or will their 3-5-2 formation require a different type of attitude?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Hello everyone. Apologies for tardiness... all ready for the game which has turned the tactical world of football into a quivering mess?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Don't think we will Jesus, unless Spain is losing.

  •  

    James Tyler: Maybe, maybe not Mike. Juventus have used the 3-5-2 to some great effect, and allowing room on the flanks doesn't exactly play to Spain's strengths -- La Furia Roja love to attack through the middle and aren't big proponents of wing play. If Giaccherini and Maggio sit deep, that's a 5-3-2, and much tougher to pass through.

  •  

    [Comment from Jesus...]
    My wife wants me to ask whether you think we'll see Navas play tonight? (and insists I link to this picture... http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lye616AJF51r8cnw4o1_500.jpg)

  •  

    [Comment from ESPN_US_Soccer via Twitter]
    Another big #euro2012 clash today! Spain vs Italy. Join @JamesTylerESPN @rogbennett and @JeffreyCarlisle, 11:30am ET: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/story/_/id/8030873/spain-vs-italy

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The tactics nerds will be having a field day with this one.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    RT @RichJolly: @Zonal_Marking @JamesTylerESPN @JohnBrewinESPN It's like Christmas. Though not like a Christmas tree formation, obviously.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    Odd lineups for both teams. 352 vs. a no striker formation?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Italy: "Imperia", "Torino", "Bologna"

    Spain: "RCD Espanyol", "Burgos"

    And of course a Polish one with "Gdansk".

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Actually, Italy playing three at the back ain't bad against a Spain side traditionally allergic to pure wing play.

  •  

    James Tyler: Keys to this one: the work of Giaccherini and Maggio at wing-back. Spain will look to exploit the space in the corners (Italy's 3-5-2 leaves plenty of room on the flanks) though that's never been their strong suit.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: A quick tour of some of the banners.

  •  

    James Tyler: Quick look again at the lineups:
    SPAIN -- 1-Casillas; 17-Arbeloa, 15-Ramos, 3-Pique, 18-Alba; 14-Alonso, 16-Busquets; 21-Silva, 8-Xavi, 6-Iniesta; 10-Fabregas.

    ITALY -- 1-Buffon; 19-Bonucci, 16-De Rossi, 3-Chiellini; 2-Maggio, 5-Motta, 13-Giaccherini, 21-Pirlo, 8-Marchisio; 10-Cassano, 9-Balotelli.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I will say, this routine requires a bit of stamina. Lots of running.

  •  

    [Comment from Mario Balotelli]
    One question, gents: Why always me?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Not yet. GrepP has it pegged so far. Looks like the Solid Gold Dancers have arrived.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Please describe the festivities, Jeff. Anything as mind-boggling as the Warsaw show on Friday?

  •  

    [Comment from GregP]
    Dang, is that stadium made of gold lamé?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Ah, I forgot. We are now being subjectd to Opening Ceremonies. This is the first game in Gdansk after all.

  •  

    James Tyler: Let's get ready to Gdance, folks. 15 minutes to game time. Looks like Super Mario redid his mohawk dye prior to Euro 2012.

  •  

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from FEMI]
    Im watching from the library. Big medical exam in a few weeks

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @richardfarley ha! It makes Claudio Ranieri look like Arry Redknapp.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: You would think, but Del Bosque has everyone guessing right now, GregP.

  •  

    [Comment from GregP]
    Torres will sub at some point, right?

  •  

    James Tyler: Mario Balotelli's headphones are sublime. Like garbage cans on his ears.

  •  

    [Comment from Penitant]
    Shhhh... I'm reading on my iPad in church

  •  

    [Comment from Ian]
    Kitchen table, Anaheim, CA. Go Azzurri.

  •  

    [Comment from Jason]
    Couch, James.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The Italy players have evidently had enough of the warmup and are back in the locker room. Spain still at it.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Of course, if it pulls off, the world will not cease to wax lyrical about his tinkering brilliance.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Spain's lineup is bold, but is Del Bosque overthinking it? Fabregas up top? #KeepItSimple

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh, Jeff. Give yourself some credit!

  •  

    James Tyler: So where is everyone watching the fun this morning/afternoon? Jeff's settled in Poznan, I'm on the couch, Roger Bennett will be joining soon along with a statto to keep the facts coming all game long.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Explains why I was always early.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's fashionable to be late, Jeff.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesHMartin via Twitter]
    To paraphrase one of my colleagues, let the flopping and feigning begin! #Italy #Spain #euro 2012. Ha! Live chat here: http://tinyurl.com/6qc8nx3

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Crowd is beginning to filter in. I'm seeing lots more Spanish jerseys. I'd say the ratio is about 3:1 in favor of Spain. We'll see if the Italians are more of the late-arriving variety.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: True, but if you're either Torres, or Negredo (or Llorente) you have to be wondering what you have to do to get into the lineup.

  •  

    James Tyler: Everyone remember this the last time these two met on a big stage?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVn3KLEUJWY

  •  

    James Tyler: One wonders if it hints to his lack of confidence in his strikers, or whether he simply wanted to try something new. After all, the group stage isn't immune to experimentation.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: As for De Rossi at center back, that had been speculated for a while. And he played in that role for Roma earlier this season, so not a huge adjustment for him.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nice to keep Prandelli guessing.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Yep, the scuttlebutt all week among the Spanish press was whether Torres or Negredo would start. Del Bosque threw everyone a huge curve.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tactically speaking, this is one for the chalkboard crowd: an Italian 3-5-2 against Cesc Fabregas, STRIKER.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Say g'day Aussie style and you've got it Sam.

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, Jeff! Roger will be here before kickoff to quip along with a pivotal Group C battle.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Spain:

    Iker Casillas; Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa; Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Initesta; Cesc Fabregas

    Italy:

    Gianluigi Buffon; Emanuele Giaccherini, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele De Rossi, Georgio Chiellini, Christian Maggio; Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Motta; Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano

  •  

    [Comment from Sam]
    How exactly do you pronounce Gdansk?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Let's get to the lineups, shall we?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Greetings everybody from beautiful, sunny, Gdansk!

  •  

    James Tyler: Who needs a Group of Death when you have this?

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, all! Spain. Italy. Two titanic world soccer superpowers. And they're meeting in Group C.

 
COMPLETE TEAM CLOSE X
Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Spain

  • 18(9)

  • 22

  • 12

  • 60%

    40%

  • Italy

  • 10(6)

  • 15

  • 19

Match Stats

  • Spain
  • Italy
18(9) Shots (on goal) 10(6)
12 Fouls 19
7 Corner kicks 2
2 Offsides 3
60% Time of Possession 40%
3 Yellow Cards 4
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 4