Italy v Spain Match Analysis

Italy put in a dominant performance to beat defending Champions Spain 2-0 and progress to the Quarter finals of Euro 2016. It was a tactical battle in which Italy manager Antonio Conte romped to victory in, leaving Spain manager Vicente del Bosque looking like yesterdays manager.

Italy took the lead on the 33rd minute through strong centre back Giorgio Chiellini after David De Gea saved brilliantly from Eder's fiercly struck free kick and was somehow able to smother Emmanuele Giaccherini's follow up effort but he was powerless to stop Chiellini tapping in the rebound to give Italy a 1-0 lead. It took the herorics of David De Gea to stop Italy increasing their lead in the closing stages of the 1st half. De Gea lept into the air to tip Emmanuele Giaccherini's long range effort over the bar. An outstanding save from the Manchester United number one who was now saving his country in the same way he has his club over the last 3 years. All in a days work for the world class stopper. Spain were lost for idea's in the first half, clearly having no idea as to how to adapt their game to outfox Italy and Antonio Conte's masterplan.

Spain slowly grew into the game after half time and were able to control the possession as they usually do and as they couldn't in the first half. However, it was David De Gea who was the standout performer again after Graziano Pelle played Eder through on goal but he was denied by De Gea. Spain tried to force and equaliser but found the legend that is Gianluigi Buffon stood in their way. Buffon saved efforts from Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique to keep the score at 1-0 for the nation he has won 160 caps for. The captians saves proved vital. A minute after Buffon saved spectacularly from Pique's volley Graziano Pelle finished off the Spainish with a sweet finish that summed up the style and finesse of Italy in this game.It was enough to make Antonio Conte climp on top of the dugout. 2-0 Italy and a place in the Quarter finals secured.

There were not many who fancied Italy to triumph over the holders. However, they didn't take into account the tactical master that is Antonio Conte who in this game put in the best tactical performance of any manager at Euro 2016. The Italy manager is famous for his incredible attention to detail, it was clear to see that Conte had drilled his team relentlessly on the perfect plan to beat Spain. The big difference for Italy compared to recent tournemants is the fact they have one of the best managers around who is capable of tactically outfoxing any manager in world football. It may not be the strongest group of Italian players we've seen but the major difference is that this Italy team is molded in the image of their manager, uncompromising and tenacious but they have the quality and the skill to stike fear into any team.

Spain have not recovered from the 5-1 humiliation to Holland and eventual group stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup. They look a team who are stuck in the past looking to evolve their style but seem afraid to. It is clear that the possession obsession style has been figured out by teams. Spain have lost a number of world class players such as Xavi and Charles Puyol to internantional retirement over the last few years but the quality in their national pool is still incredible. Serious questions need to be asked of Vicente del Bosque as to why he chose to call up players such as Lucas Vazquez and Bruno Soriano ahead of the likes of Sergi Roberto and Juan Mata. Spain have a new generation of quality players but it is a different style of player and the style needs to evolve to suit this new generation of players. Is Vicente del Bosque the right man to take this new generation forward? That's the decision for the Spanish FA but it is looking like he is not able to evolve with this new generation of Spanish players


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