Spain 1-1 Italy – Fabregas cancels out Di Natale opener
Arguably the most entertaining match of Euro 2012 took place in Gdansk when Spain and Italy played out a 1-1 draw to ensure it was honours even in this Group C opener.
June 10th, 2012
Vicente del Bosque caused a big surprise by omitting all his strikers from the team and instead opting to play Cesc Fabregas in attack being flanked by David Silva and Andres Iniesta.
It was a tactic that didn’t really seem to work, with Italy containing their opponents and being able to fashion a few chances of their own during a cagey first half where the Azzurri defended in numbers but always looked dangerous with Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano in attack.
Balotelli really should have opened the scoring when through on goal in the second half, although it was his replacement Antonio Di Natale that broke the deadlock after a superb run and pass from Andrea Pirlo.
Spain were stirred into action and came right back into the game during the final quarter, with Cesc Fabregas rounding off a passing move to equalise and Del Bosque finally introduced a striker in the form of Fernando Torres.
The Chelsea forward looked lively but did miss two gilt-edged chances when he was firstly tackled by Gianluigi Buffon and then his attempted lob over the Juventus keeper also cleared the crossbar.
Both teams will now be confident of qualifying, with games against Croatia and Republic of Ireland to come.