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Euro 2008: Spain vs. Italy (Your Running Commentary)

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After three exhilarating, unpredictable, entertaining and unforgettable quarterfinal match-ups, can the last match of the European Championship quarterfinal round possibly give us more?

It just might. Spain and Italy square off in what was probably the most anticipated match-up of the quarterfinal round. That was before late-game heroics, penalty kick drama and a shocking upset left us begging for more. Can Spain and Italy deliver?

In one corner you have the Spaniards, notorious for folding in big tournaments, the last remaining unbeaten and the last remaining group winner, facing Italy, the reigning World Champions and the team that didn’t win at Euro 2008 until its final group match against France. Can Italy, missing key defenders and showing its age, really beat a loaded Spanish squad that looks as dangerous in attack as it looks stingy in defense?

Come on, can you really say no? Can you doubt any outcome in this tournament after Turkey stunned the Croatians and Russia upset the Netherlands?

Well, I’m saying no, if only because I’m standing at a tidy 0-3 for the quarters and have to hold on to my pick to win the tournament. I picked Spain to win it all and I’ll stick to that, even after all the drama of the early quarterfinal matches. I’ll say Spain wins 2-1 (that sound you hear is Spanish fans crying because I just gave Spain the kiss of death).

I will be doing a running commentary of the match so feel free to follow along here and, whether you’re watching at home or are stuck where you can’t watch, you’re more than welcome to share your thoughts and opinions before, during and after the match in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match.

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70th minute– Okay folks, I’m off to try and get my laptop fixed. Enjoy the rest of the match and share your comments below.

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55th minute– And here comes Spain again, applying pressure. Not sure how much longer Italy’s defense holds up.

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51st minute– Toni barely offside and nearly gets onto a great ball in from Grosso. I get the feeling that Toni is going to score today.

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50th minute– Italy looks content to let Spain knock it around.

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HALFTIME– Spain has had the better of the play, more of the possession and better chances. Italy has defended well and benefited from some non-calls. Service to Luca Toni is an issue. He looks hungry for a score but can’t get enough service. Not sure what subs Roberto Donadoni can make at this point, or if he’ll be content with the solid defending.

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45th minute– A testy match today, the testiest match of the quarters. I wonder how much the ref is to blame.

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42nd minute– The referee conpletely misses a foul by Gross on David Silva just outside the area. This ref is shocking today.

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38th minute– Spain putting more pressure on, with Torres and Silva taking shots. Spain has looked good so far, better than Italy to this point.

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36th minute– Toni with a header that looked headed for goal before Marchena got in the way. Italy’s best sequence yet.

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34th minute– Spain is starting to get some shots on Buffon, though from long range and I don’t see Buffon being beaten from distance.

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31st minute– Ambrosini with a completely deserved yellow card for a rough challenge on Senna.

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29th minute– Just when we thought the referee would call the game tightly i think we’ve seen about four fouls not called in the past five to 10 minutes.

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25th minute– David Villa with a hard and low free kick that Buffon smothers.

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22nd minute– Wow, Ambrosini nearly found Toni with a great ball in but it came a bit too early so the chance went begging.

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19th minute-Perotta streaks in with a dangerous header chance but his header is wide.

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18th minute– Torres wastes a good run in but Zambrotta pressures him into a bad shot.

The referee seems a bit too involved early on.

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15th minute- Spain controlling early on but no real chances yes.

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12th minute– Apologies for the delay. The referee has taken control of the game early and won’t be letting it get too physical.

75 comments
  • ManicMessiah

    119th minute- There have been a few chances, but penalty kicks seem an inevitability.

    Two World Class keepers will be pitted against one another.

    Cazora went for a shot, with a streaking David Villa coming along!!! Cazora pushed it wide. If he just layed it off, Villa finishes it easily, and Spain wins the game!

    Like

  • Thom

    Manic Messiah- excellent obsevation on the ref

    Is there one person out there who believes Spain will win the PK’s?

    Not me but here’s hoping i’m wrong.

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    Villa puts in the 1st Spain Penalty to the keeper’s right! It was hit HARD.

    Grosso puts it in in the same direction!!! Casillas guessed right, but couldn’t stop it.

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    2nd Spanish Penalty- Cazola GOOD!!!

    2nd Italy Penalty- De Rossi- SAVED!!!

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    3rd Spain Penalty- Senna GOOD!!! It was a calm finish.

    3rd Italy Penalty- Camoranesi GOOD!!! to the keeper’s left.

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    4th Spain Penalty- Guiza SAVED!!! Not a great penalty from La Liga’s top scorer.

    4th Italy Penalty- Di Natale SAVED!!!

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    equally poor penalty by Di Natale.

    Fabregas for a chance to move on!

    GOOD!!!!

    Keeper guessed the wrong way, and SPAIN MOVE ON!!!!!

    Like

  • Thom

    YES!!!!!

    for once justice is done and the Italians go out for playing cynical football!!!!

    Like

  • WiscFan

    YES! Way to go Spain. I’m happy to see the Italians are not going through.

    Like

  • Thom

    Thank you Spain. Now I can root for the Russians for the style and verve in which they are playing.

    Argones- NEVER TAKE TORRES OFF THE PITCH.

    He would 6 goals if he was playing for Germany.

    Like

  • William the Terror

    Italy is out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice is served!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The team that never plays to win but always plays to “not lose,” the team the actively tried to steer this game to penalties rather than playing attacking football, gets shown the door. Excellent!!!

    When I get to hell, I know that my punishment will be to watch endless matchups of Greece v. Italy. But, for today at least, I am happy.

    Like

  • Thom

    I do hate the Italian national team. Every cup is better to watch when they go out.

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    Spain are deserved winners on the night. Some of the actions by Italy were pretty shameless and deplorable, but the referee is the one who created an atmosphere where it was rewarded.

    It was a match where I’d notice the referee every other minute, which is the sign of a really badly officiated match.

    It was definitely the worst of the 4 Quarter Final matches, though.

    Like

  • ManicMessiah

    Honestly, it’s tough to say off the top of my head, and I couldn’t really say about Portugal/Germany, as it was the game I paid the least attention to. However, I would go with the Croatia/Turkey match over Netherlands/Russia, as there was that funny business with a red card then a takeback. Plus, I can’t remember a call in Croatia/Turkey that I can specifically remember.

    Like

  • Thom

    He got the red card take back right though he went about it the wrong way. Rgere was no foul but then again the ball went over the touch line either.

    Either the Germany quarter ref (and he missed the Balack push off even truthfully even though I was rooting aganist Portugal) or the Holland Rusia ref because he let them play without stupid interuptions.

    Man- I love when Andy Grey calls the games.

    Like

  • chris

    That game was everything that’s bad about soccer. One team playing not to lose with 10 men behind the ball all game, diving all over the field and a scoreless draw decided by PK’s. Yuck.

    Like

  • Chris UCF

    besides italy’s tremendous defense and the horrendous officiating,

    why in god’s name was torres taken off? unfathomable..

    he and aragones really must have a spat. he wasn’t even tired or anything.

    i was happy for villa though, he worked his ass off all game

    Like

  • Richard

    borriello should have come on for toni late 2nd half/early 1st et … del piero should have never made the team… if he didn’t fit in with donadoni’s style before, why would it change now??? italy’s mistakes of picking players / not playing them has cost them in this euro AND in euro 2000 with the totti/del piero fiasco… (i think the two played in 02 always together though…)

    heres to 2010 and the (hopefully) youngest team in the tournament!! ROSSI, GIOVINCO, NOCERINO, AQUILANI, MONTOLIVO, ROSINA, PAZZINI, QUAG, DE RO, BUFFON/AMELIA/CURCI, CHIELLINI, PALLADINO, thats all i can name off the top of my head…prob more that i missed…

    Like

  • martha

    Thank God Italy didnt win. They were the worst team to win the world cup…both times.

    Ugly team doesnt even try to attck, just lobbed a few aerials to Luca Toni on counters. They dont deserve any starn on their jersy. Dipite winning twice since 1970 they have never been the best team in any tournament. Thankfully the SOCCER GODS SET things right.

    Like

  • vipero

    even since 1970! on 1978 and 1982 it was pretty good.

    This time it was quite poor, indeed, but could still deserve to be in the semifinal.

    Well, at least William had his orgasm, I had mine thanks to Russia. We’re all happy! ;o) Cheers Paolo (Rome, Italy)

    Like

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