Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spain/Italy running blog

Finally! Connection problems, folks.
But we've only just begun.

Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 5-Carles Puyol, 4-Carlos Marchena, 11-Joan Capdevila; 19-Marcos Senna; 6-Andres Iniesta, 8-Xavi, 21-David Silva; 7-David Villa, 9-Fernando Torres

Italy: 1-Gianluigi Buffon; 19-Gianluca Zambrotta, 2-Christian Panucci, 4-Giorgio Chiellini, 3-Fabio Grosso; 22-Alberto Aquilani, 10-Daniele De Rossi, 13-Massimo Ambrosini; 20-Simone Perrotta; 18-Antonio Cassano, 9-Luca Toni

4- Spain with most of the possession so far. Italy defending well. Shocker.
5 - Villa defending. He wants this bad, then.
11 - Torres getting into it with a ref.
12 - Now the ref pulls a yellow for Iniesta. He's not happy with the Red Fury.
18 - Torres in the box - doesn't get to aim it well and it goes wide.
19 - Ambrosini header - bounces in front of Casillas and he gets it, but Italy is now created chances, slowly imposing their will on the match.
24 - Del Rossi gives up a FK in a likely spot. Spain set up. Villa takes it and tests Buffon a little, but Gigi handles it.
27 - Villa in the box, but the Italian defense recovers.
30 - Silva botches a clear, giving Italy a chance, but a pass goes awry and Casillas picks up the loose ball.
31 - Offside on Spain going the other way. Then yellow for Ambrosini as he tackles late and gets nothing but the player.
32 - Silva tries a low outside shot that forces a diving catch from GiBu.
33 - Xavi's shot creates the first corner of the match. Nothing much comes of it - Spain gets whistled for a push.
39 - Italy FK, off a Puyol foul. Casillas adjusts his gloves. The ball gets served in an headed out for Italy's first corner. I can hear Casillas yelling, "Fuera!" That means, "Away!".
42 - Silva taken down - he gets stepped on. Gray is spitting in Scottish rage at the referee's unwillingness to call the infraction.
Halftime - Spain have controlled the ball, Italy have countered. The ref has missed plays. The sun also sets in the west. The natural order of things would have history win out and Italy find a goal in the second half and bunker well against the Spanish attack for a 1-0 win.
48 - Spain are looking decent in the second half so far, getting in a little deeper.
50 - Gray bemoans Silva taking a touch in the box - wasting a chance to shoot on goal, in Gray's opinion.
52 - Cassano's pass on an Italy break is too strong and Ambrosini is furious about it.
56 - Torres in the box! He crosses instead of shoots, though, and it gets blocked out for a corner. The shot off the corner is way high.
59 - Xavi sets up for the corner - Bufo punches it out and the rebound shot is way wide.
60 - Fabergas comes on for Xavi. Iniesta is out for Cazorla.
61 - Italy all over the box! Casillas' leg saves a goal as Camoranesi, just in for Perrota, shot through traffic.
65 - Spain keeps crossing into Italy's box as if their forwards are as tall and big as Italy's. They are not. Italy clear our cross after cross and wait for the deadly counter.
69 - Villa gets fouled - Spain have a FK in a decent spot. Villa deflects it off the shoulder of someone in the wall. The corner comes to nothing, because Italy's big guys clear the ball out well.
71 - Toni on a counter gets a contested header - puts it wide.
72 - Villa gets booked for a dive and Gray snits at the ref for the call, thinking it poor, more that Villa fell over than that he dived.
73 - Ramos from distance. Wide. Spain look frustrated. Italy look in control, even without the ball.
76 - Spain stymied time and again at the Italy area. Fabergas FK leads to corner. It's taken short and the service falls to Ramos, who actually cuts the ball off from a better positioned Torres. Ramos ends up trying a backwards chip that GuBu catches easily.
79 - Another corner dropped in well by Fabergas, but Italy clear. Gray gloomily forecasts a smash-and-grab by Italy. Tire out smaller, skilled Spain and then crash the area for a set piece goal late in the match after Spain are disheartened.
80 - Spanish FK on target, but blocked out by Gigio.
81 - Buffoni spills the ball on a long shot, but as it spins towards goal, the post helpfully knocks the ball back to the goalkeeper. Spain have no luck here this game.
82 - Inspired, Italy attack Spain's goal hard. Spain get numbers back, but the Italy players are bigger. Spain escapes the danger this time.
83 - Toni saves Spain. Inadvertently, of course. He doesn't notice Grosso crashing in far post for the cross and tries a weird high kick, getting a touch enough to deflect it away from Grosso.
85 - Torres is coming off as Aragones makes his last change, sending in Guiza.
88 - Villa crosses to Guiza in the box - who forgets the most basic rule of the game and uses his arms to cradle the ball and bring it down for a shot. Crazy stupid.
90 - Villa in the box - but gets taken off the ball fairly easily. He looks tired. I expect Italy to score soon, though they've seen far less of the ball.
90+ Gray is pissed that Toni stays down until he gets an injury whistle, though there was no foul on the play where he lost the ball.
Spain with a last attack in the box - same result as all the others.
Final whistle
Extra periods to follow.
93 - Silva shot is just wide! So close. The jinx continues and Spain can't get a break.
95 - Italy off a throw-in, the cross in the box - DiNatale out jumps the shorter Puyol and the header is just barely high. The corner is deflected out for another corner. Spain are in trouble.
96 - Toni's near post header nearly goes in. Spain have had far more chances, but Italy have had a few dangerous ones.
99 - Zambrotta cuts off a Fabregas run in the box. Perfect stifling defense by Italy.
103 - Marco Senna is down, but Aragones has no subs left, so Senna limps back up.
105 - Gray says "Van Basten" when he means "van Nistelroy", but it's part of a compliment to Casillas, who catches a FK into his box well.
Gray notes that only Spain have really tried to win the game as we head into the second extra period.
110 - Villa in the box again, but his first touch fails him and Lufo is out to block the ensuing shot for a corner. Header from Fabregas is off-blance and the ball goes way wide.
113 - Cazorla booked for dissent after being denied what looks like a clear corner.
114 - Gray grimly notes how effective Italy's defending is. True, but even though i played as a defender, it depresses me. It's all about killing chances, not creating them, clamping down on the game, organized, not creative. It's maddening, though it works. It's like an American car versus an Italian one. The American one is usually ugly, but it works, whereas the Italian one looks great, but breaks down. Anyway, I drive a Japanese model - trying to find a balance between the two extremes. But I used to drive a Lancia. And then a Geo Metro.
118 - Casillas with a poor clearance gives Italy a chance, but Spain recover. Italy looks livelier now, right when Spain look really tired.
So who has the advantage in penalties? The cagey vet Buffolini, or Iker?
120 - Guiza kills Villa's spirit, taking a pass in the box and knocking a cross just a bit too hard for the arriving Villa. Seriously, Davy is in tears over not getting a chance to finish that.
Final final whistle. Penalties are next.
Gray waxes eloquently epic about the pressure of penalties.
Villa is up first. He will get to knock into net what was denied him during the game. I wonder if he's regained his composure yet. Yes he has! 1-0 Spain
Grosso for Italy. Casillas guessed right but it was too good. 1-1
Carzola next. He fools Buffon to score. 2-1 Spain.
De Rossi up - Casillas SAVES! 2-1 Spain.
Senna up for Spain to secure the advantage. He makes! 3-1 Spain.
Camoranesi up to keep Italy kicking. He roofs it calmly. Nice PK. 3-2 Still Spain
Guiza versus Buffon. Gray has a bad feeling - and he's right! Guiza goes low and a little slow and Buffon gets there. 3-2 Spain.
DiNatale to put Italy level. SAVE! Casillas does it! Spain has a chance to advance! 3-2.
Cesc to put Spain through. Fabergas steps up. He has an extra long run-up and he slots it low, with Buffo going the other way. 4-2. Spain is through! Their fans go crazy, and Gray says the Spanish Fury deserve it. They went after the game, they kept fighting, and they held their nerve in the penalty kick trial of fire. So it's Turkey/Germany and Spain/Russia.


charlesj27 said...

WOW!!! WOW!!! What a sensational EURO match. Spain was my pick to take the EURO this year. I know there still much to go before this can even happen. But, I must given due props to Spain for keeping their "spine & backbone" against a definite dominant team like Italy. I swear Italian players have such SUPER-EGOs; Yikes! And, teh friggin' acting - really are all of them planning to have TV careers after soccer? It was some atrocious referreeing - It made me so queasy! Bravo, Spain - Bravo!!!
Such exquisite football to watch! Such crispness & accuracy! And, then, we switch over to MLS. But, hey - at least USA is starting to give soccer its dues and respect!!!
By the way, your Canales Corner peieces... Keep it up; it's quite refreshing to see & hear your thoughts/comments than having to read it day in/day out.

SHOUT OUT to LB, as well - Wassupp!

truth said...

I felt that Daniele DeRossi's penalty miss/Casillas save was long overdue revenge for his atrocious bloody foul on Brian McBride at the World Cup, and I cheered lustily! Down go the Italian Diving Team, and the world rejoices.

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