Nico Williams puts Italy in their place as Spain dominate #2298

Spain 1 Italy 0FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
10 min readJun 21, 2024

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Spain 1 Italy 0FT

55'Calafiori (Forced by Nico Williams)

Veltis Arena, Gelsenkirchen

The final match of the day's fixtures at Euro 2024 would be the most anticipated Battle of the day as Spain and Italy clash horns In Group B. as we are at the Veltis Arena in Gelsenkirchen the home of Schalke. Spain and Italy have a historical rivalry on the European Stage .Two nations with historical significance. Italy the winners of four World cups and two European championships. Meanwhile, Spain is the only nation in history to win three successive tournaments on the bounce. As they conquered Euro 2008, World Cup in 2010 in South Africa & Euro 2012. In Euro 2012, Spain and Italy not only met in the group stage but also the final. They have also met in many successive tournaments. It has been dominated by the Spanish. however, Italy has a few wins in their back pocket against Spain. Spain came out the doors. absolutely swinging against Croatia in the first match of this group. They took them to task with a 3-0 victory dominating and only the way Spanish do total ball control while playing attractive football on their way to Total dictation of the Croatians. A victory this evening for Spain will Not only confirm their place in the knockout stage, but also, they will win the group with a victory giving them a favorable matchup for the round of 16 when the time comes. Italy on the other hand, did win against Albania, but it wasn't pretty and they did not play well. They found themselves behind after 23 seconds and it was only due to individual quality. From Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicole Barella, got them the results. In many ways. It was incredibly poor and was truly missing a difference Maker that it clearly did not have in their opening Day victory against Albania. A loss for Italy could be damaging not only due to the reputation between Spain and Italy, but also Albania has looked strong in their two matches. Even though they only have a point with Spain having the group already wrapped up, it is not impossible that Albania could get something. Especially if Italy don't win against Croatia. It will be slightly problematic if they lose. However, Italy will still remain in decent shape as long as they take care of business in their other match. these two teams haven't played since Euro 2020 in the semifinal Spain dominated and was without question. The better side on the night, however Federico Chesia found at the moment. forcing penalties despite Spain being comfortably better, Italy found ways to win. This evening Italy will need to do exactly the same thing. Italy is unlikely to beat Spain outright considering there's quite a big mismatch between the two. however, if Italy picked their moments, they perhaps get a result in the way they did in the last Euros. semi-final. A considerable matchup for this group B. battle between Italy and Spain as two European Giants fight for superiority in the group here in Gelsenkirchen.

Spain absolutely ran rugged through Croatia. they were looking to do the same against Italy. possibly revenge for being knocked out in the semi-final 3 years ago. Spain dominated from the very beginning as they got themselves into dangerous areas from the very beginning. In the second minute Pedri makes a nice run into the box. Nico Williams delivers the dime as the Barcelona man gets his head on the end of it fortunately for Italy Donnaruma comes to the rescue. A warning shot delivered by Spain inside of 2 minutes. Spain dominated the ball Italy couldn't do much about it. as much as they have some firepower that can be effective, the Spanish were absolutely unfazed as they went from strength to strength. Spain picked out a weakness immediately. they're favorable spot was going to be attacking Di Lorenzo on the left side with Nico Williams as the Napoli Captain was overwhelmed constantly. Alvero Morata In the 10th minute delivers a cross into the box as Nico Williams swings by gets inside getting his head on the end of it. it comes close but this time it's a little off the mark. The machinery of Spain did not wear out as they were picking up energy through each waking moment. Italy were all over the place completely unorganized and missing Someone that can make a difference as Italy's team gain frustration Very early on still inside of 15 minutes. The relentlessness continued. In the 24th minute young talent Lamine Yamal found space and time to go through Italy before dumping it off for Álvaro Morata as he connects from the 6-yard box Donnaruma gets on top of it as it does appear. He's about to have a long evening. Spain immediately create some more havoc as Rodri delivers a headed pass into the space of a Fabian Ruiz putting making good contact Donnaruma is on top of it again despite making him work. Italy having difficulties pushing the ball past the halfway line as Spain's. young talons have obliterated Italy and caused them into vulnerability. Pedri Lamine Yamal & Nico Williams making Italy look like amateurs and not the defending European Champions. The Spaniards looking for precise moments. as they were very calculated about the way they are breaking Italy down. much like Croatia match. it just takes a moment for them to turn it on and leave you for dead. However, Italy unscathed at least for the moment, but it seems like that moment could arrive at any time. In the 37th minute Morata laid it off for Ruiz the PSG star struck it from distance but his teammate in the Italian goal does make the save In the 45th minute Italy finally got something going forward they get on the break although Spain defensively prepared Barella releases Federico Cheisa struck on the left side as it fires over the top corner as Simon unbothered. This would end the first half No goals as of yet, but Spain has been all over Italy as it feels they are just one or two moments from breaking the deadlock and putting themselves firmly in control as we're seeing yet another mismatch from Spain. No goals as of yet, but Spain has been all over Italy as it feels they are just one or two moments from breaking the deadlock and putting themselves firmly in control as we're seeing yet another mismatch from Spain.

Italy was fairly apprehensible in that first half. They did nothing going forward and if it wasn't for the goalkeeper Italy could be down by multiple goals already. Mr. Spaletti just may have a problem on his hands after a really bad first half from Italy. Meanwhile, Spain have been nearly flawless. Italy made multiple changes to try to take a little bit of energy out of the Spaniards however. Spain looked even sharper to start the second half. In the 53rd minute Fabian Ruiz and Pedri continue to be the ones pulling the strings for Spain. As Fabian Ruiz supplies a nice ball into Pedri The Barcelona Talent unloaded from distance However, Gigi Donnaruma in terrific form as he has been the biggest difference for Italy and reason Why it is still a level. However, eventually Spain would capitalize in the 55th minute Nico Williams attacks Di Lorenzo on the left side, he makes a beautiful run down the flank before unleashing an effort that deflects off of a defender and then forces Ricardo Calafiori into an own goal as Spain, take a 1-0 lead. In the 58th minute Spain unloads one from distance again this time Alvero Morata has the touch as he hits it Gigi Donnaruma coming up with another fantastic save. He seems to be the only one That is contributing. Spain continuously knocking on the door again In the 60th minute Yamel makes a run before cutting right outside the box sending a curler towards the top corner as he smashes into the crossbar. That very well could have been the moment for Spain and probably should have. on another night Spain would have scored five already. Believe it or not, 10 minutes later Spain had almost an identical scenario to that. Nico Williams in the 70th minute. Hits an excellent ball from just outside the circle from distance again. Spain deal with the crossbar as it ricochets against it. in a span of 10 minutes, Spain hit the crossbar twice. In the 74th minute, a free kick is given to Italy. Lorenzo Pellegrini steps over it before sending it right onto the top of the net. It has only been their second shot of the entire game from a team standpoint. This has been one of the worst performances we've seen from any team at the tournament this far. Spain very easily could be running away with this one as they have been a completely different level than Italy, it's not even close. In the 86th minute, Italy put together one of their only positive chances of the entire night. Raspodori picks out a ball for Cristante as Simon for the only time to say anything forced into a save. In the 90th minute Spain really should have taken the lead even further as Ayoze Pérez isn't almost one-on-one but can't get around the keeper as Gigi Donnaruma makes a tremendous save to keep them out of the net to keep the deficit as it is. then with the final chance of the match Riccardo Calafiori mismanages a touch on a corner in the final second as it goes wide. that would end what has been a horrific afternoon for Italy as Spain absolutely dominate from start to finish even if it was due to an own goal. Spain absolutely on cruise control for the second consecutive match. they will win the group and have wrapped up their spot in the round of 16. as Spain thus far looks almost unbeatable Italy with a huge mismatch combined with a horrendous performance as Spain glide to The victory in Gelsenkirchen.

Spain ran circles around Italy and dictated the game the entire way through. Even when Italy were trying to push for a potential equalizer Spain's ability to maintain their possession and repossess the ball so quickly after losing it shows how incredibly efficient and disciplined they are. some of the Italy players were often getting into it with Dani Carvajal However, collectively, they were very disciplined. didn't make any mistakes. was able to keep their poise under pressure and ultimately make Italy pay for all of their mistakes. The young talents through this Spanish side is alarming as they have a massive ceiling. Pedri & Yamel was brilliant. They ran the Midfield as they were a complete mismatch for Italy. Not to mention the impact and consistency of Fabian Ruiz. however, one matchup dictated the majority of the match. that was the way Nico Williams absolutely eviscerated Di Lorenzo. He will be giving him nightmares the rest of this tournament for the way he single-handedly broke down Italy. He's the one that caused the own goal. He's coming off a season with athletic Bilbao with eight goals and 19 assists. he was a really big problem and Italy could do nothing about it. from an Italy perspective they were horrendous from top to bottom. They had three shots the entire 90 minutes. only one of them was on target. Simon didn't have much work to do because number one Italy couldn't move the ball into the spaces they could against Albania and number two. they barely had the ball and Spain controlled the entire thing. Italy needed a game changer in this match to attempt to make some sort of difference. That's not even mentioning the fact that his substitutions were horrendous and his overall game plan from a tactical point was a disaster. Vincenzo Grifo had at 21 goal contributions this season. He is a big time player both in facilitating chances and scoring on his own. from top to bottom, if you look at what Italy needed that's exactly what they needed. However, Italy left him at home despite having outperformed everyone this season. The primary reason he was not picked is because he plays his football in the Bundesliga and was born in Germany. Despite being Italian. Italy have a problem on their hands. Croatia looked sloppy again but still managed to stick two goals in the back of the net. They almost beat Albania. Croatia very well. could beat Italy on the final match day. If that happens, their chances of getting into the knockout frowns minimize substantially. They could still do it as a third place team with three points but it will be unlikely to happen with just three points. a loss to Croatia could kill Italy's entire tournament. this is not a very strong side and what we saw from Italy this evening is one of the worst performances we've seen at this tournament. Italy aren't that good and seem to lack quality in the critical areas. Gigi Donnaruma deserves a lot of credit for the way he performed. If it wasn't for his world class performance in goal, Italy could have lost by five goals. Spain take a 1-0 victory in Schalke to punch their ticket into the round of 16 with another dominating display.

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