Italy wasn’t pegged as one of the tournament favorites, despite their rich history, however, Antonio Conte’s experienced group continues to prove that they are among the top teams at Euro 2016.
The Azzurri dispatched of reigning European champions Spain, 2-0, on Monday afternoon behind goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle.
Italy broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when Eder’s dipping free kick forced goalkeeper David de Gea into a mistake as he made the initial save. Juventus centerback Chiellini was in the right place at the right time, and smashed home the rebound from close range.
De Gea kept Spain in the match on the stroke of halftime when the Manchester United keeper made an acrobatic save to keep Emanuele Giaccherini off the scoresheet.
Spain pressed for an equalizer as the match wore on, but Gianluigi Buffon kept the Italians in front, making five saves on the afternoon.
Pelle added a second for Italy in second-half stoppage time, sending Spain home packing. Italy will move on to face Germany in the quarterfinals on July 2 in Bordeaux.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gianluigi Buffon continues to defy his age, making five key saves for Italy on Monday.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Gerard Pique nearly pounced on a close-range volley inside the Italy penalty area with one minute remaining in regulation, but Buffon got down and prevented the shot from going in the corner.
MATCH TO FORGET
Alvaro Morata and the Spanish attack struggled to break down arguably the best defense in the tournament, and Vicente del Bosque’s team will now be heading home.