Italy v Spain, 22 June 2008

Score0-0 :: penalties 4-2 to Spain
RefereeHerbert Fandel
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals quarter-final
VenueErnst Happel Stadion, Vienna
Attendance51,178
Spain won 4-2 on penalties After extra time Kick-Off: 8.45pm local Asstant referees: Carsten Kadach (Germany) Volker Wezel (Germany) Fourth official: Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium) Man of the Match: Iker Casillas (Spain) Iker Casillas was the penalty shoot-out hero as Spain held their collective nerve to throw out the record book and claim a UEFA EURO 2008 semi-final against Russia. Before tonight Spain had lost three quarter-final penalty shoot-outs on 22 June but they stopped the rot in Vienna, prevailing 4-2 on spot kicks after 120 minutes failed to produce a goal. Although Gianluigi Buffon saved from Daniel Güiza, Casillas denied Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale, allowing Cesc Fàbregas to step up and send his side through. In truth, Luis Aragonés's team had enjoyed the better of the play on a humid night in Vienna, Marcos Senna coming closest when he was denied by the post in the closing stages of normal time. They continued to press in the additional half-hour, David Silva and Santi Cazorla both firing narrowly wide before Casillas's heroics saw them through to a rematch with a Russia side they defeated 4-1 in the group stage. The Italy squad had arrived at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion some time after their Spanish counterparts, and for much of the first half Aragonés's men were similarly first to everything. With Xavi Hernández providing the pivot in midfield, Spain bossed the play, caressing the ball one way and then the other – all one-touch passing and quick bursts of activity as they picked at Italy's high defensive line, looking for a chink in the armour. The ploy of Andrés Iniesta switching flanks to create the overlap on the left was too obvious for the wizened Azzurri rearguard, although David Villa's cute back-heel almost forced an opening soon after and it took a timely block to deny Silva. Italy were struggling to gain a foothold, unable to fill the sizeable void left by suspensions to their usual suppliers of industry and finesse, Gennaro Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo. It was a hole that Fernando Torres, in particular, was keen to exploit as he popped up all over the pitch, drawing Aragonés from his bench to tell him to calm down. Perhaps the coach was aware the omens were hardly stacked in his team's favour as they sought their first win against the Azzurri in a competitive fixture, Olympic Games excluded. Midway through the half Massimo Ambrosini gave Spain more to think about but Simone Perrotta was unable to make the most of his arcing cross before another centre just evaded Luca Toni. With King Juan Carlos in the crowd, it was largely Spain who were rising to the occasion. Villa tested Buffon with a free-kick but it was the waspish Silva who was displaying the most menace. Seven minutes before half-time he fired a low effort past the post after a blocked Torres shot fell his way. He then profited from another fortuitous opening soon after the restart, when the ball cannoned into his path eight metres out. After a clever turn it took a timely intervention from Giorgio Chiellini to deny him. The Azzurri centre-back was immense, and slowly his team-mates began to respond. Just past the hour a long ball caused mayhem in the Spain defence, dropping favourably for substitute Mauro Camoranesi who forced a smothering save from Casillas. At the other end, with time ebbing away, Senna worked Buffon with a free-kick and then a low shot that bounced awkwardly in front of the goalkeeper, the ball evading his grasp and spinning on to the post before he fell on to it at the second attempt. It was a propitious bounce but there was no luck involved when the Italy No1 dived to keep out Güiza's effort with three minutes remaining, even if play was subsequently called back for handball. Such reactions would prove invaluable in the concluding penalty shoot-out, but, unfortunately for Roberto Donadoni's world champions, they came predominantly from Casillas.

0 (2)  Italy

Manager: Roberto Donadoni

0 (4)  Spain

Manager: Luis Aragones

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (captain)
Defender/Midfielder Fabio Grosso
Defender/Midfielder Gianluca Zambrotta
Midfielder Massimo Ambrosini
Midfielder Alberto Aquilani
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi
Midfielder Simone Perrotta
Forward Antonio Cassano
Forward Luca Toni

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas (captain)
Defender Capdevila
Defender Marchena
Defender Puyol
Defender Sergio Ramos
Midfielder David Silva
Midfielder Andres Iniesta
Midfielder Marcos Senna
Midfielder Xavi
Forward Fernando Torres
Forward David Villa

Substitutions:

Mauro Camoranesi for Simone Perrotta 58
Antonio Di Natale for Antonio Cassano 75
Alessandro Del Piero for Alberto Aquilani 108

Substitutions:

Cesc Fabregas for Xavi 59
Santi Cazorla for Andres Iniesta 59
Daniel Guiza for Fernando Torres 85

Cards:

Massimo Ambrosini 31 Y

Cards:

Andres Iniesta 12 Y
David Villa 72 Y
Santi Cazorla 113 Y

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Marco Amelia
Goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis
Defender/Centre back Marco Materazzi
Midfielder Mauro Camoranesi
Forward Marco Borriello

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Andres Palop
Goalkeeper Pepe Reina
Defender Álvaro Arbeloa
Defender Juanito
Defender Fernando Navarro
Midfielder Rubén de la Red
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas
Midfielder Raúl Albiol
Midfielder Santi Cazorla
Midfielder Xabi Alonso
Forward Daniel Guiza

Comments:

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT DETAILS (Italy went second) 1 - Fabio Grosso [scored] 2 - Daniele De Rossi [saved] 3 - Mauro Camoranesi [scored] 4 - Antonio Di Natele [saved] - Italy lost a penalty shoot-out at a major tournament for the fifth time, equalling the record held by England. - Italy recorded their seventh goalless draw in 27 European Championship matches, extending their own record. It was Spain's third in 28 matches in the competition. - Alessandro Del Piero came on as a substitute and therefore played a record equalling 13th European Championship match for Italy.

Comments:

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT DETAILS (Spain went first) 1 - David Villa [scored] 2 - Santi Cazorla [scored] 3 - Marcos Senna [scored] 4 - David Guiza [saved] 5 - Cesc Fabregas [scored] - Spain became the first group winners at Euro 2008 to reach the semi-finals. One group winner in the last four is a record low for the competition. - Spain's semi-final appearance is their first in a major tournament since the 1984 European Championship where they eventually lost in the final. - Spain's unbeaten streak continues and has now reached 20 matches.