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Spain begin European title defence with 1-1 draw against Italy
By:
ThinkSpain , Monday, June 11, 2012

Spain began the defence of their European title with a 1-1 draw against Italy yesterday.

Team coach Vicente Del Bosque caused considerable surprise by opting for a striker-free line-up, and despite moments of promise from offensive midfielders like Iniesta, FÓbregas and Silva, Spain lacked real focus up front until Torres came on deep in the second half.

Italy's three central defenders, De Rossi, Bonucci and Chiellini kept Spain's forays forward in check, and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas pulled off a series of spectacular saves to keep the scoreboard level, but both sides produced their best chances in first-half injury time.  Xavi set up his Barša team mate Iniesta, who was let down by an uncharacteristically poor first touch, resulting in a tame shot on goal. Then Cassano escaped down the right and set up Motta with a magnificent cross, only to see Casillas palm the shot to safety.

Although Spain came out with greater intensity after the break, it was Italy who were first to score as veteran Udinense striker Di Natale found the back of the net just four minutes after coming off the bench.

Spain hit back three minutes later as Silva picked out FÓbregas with a beautifully flicked pass, and the Barcelona man made no mistake against Buffon.

Atfer 74 minutes, Del Bosque finally brought on a striker in the shape of Fernando Torres, but the Chelsea forward lacked confidence in front of goal, despite having a couple of clear chances.

In their next match, Spain take on Ireland in Gdansk on Thursday June 14th.

 
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