Euro 2008 Update

23Jun08

Spain 0-0 Italy (4-2 penalties)
Spain beat Italy 4-2 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008 after a dour goalless draw in Vienna. Marcos Senna came closest in normal time when Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon fumbled his shot on to a post. Spain keeper Iker Casillas was the hero in the shoot-out, saving from Daniele de Rossi and Antonio di Natale. Daniel Guiza saw his spot-kick saved by Buffon, but Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas slid home the crucial penalty to set up a last four clash with Russia. The game never touched the heights and penalties was an almost inevitable outcome given the approach of both sides. There will now be an intriguing backdrop to the semi-final in Vienna on Thursday, with Spain having beaten Russia – admittedly minus the inspirational Andrei Arshavin – 4-1 in a group game earlier in the competition. And it was a change of fortune for the Spanish, who have gone out of three major championships on 22 June, the World Cups of 1986 and 2002 and Euro ’96 – all in the quarter-finals on penalties. In the penalties Villa and Fabio Grosso exchanged successful penalties and Cazorla scored for Spain before Casillas saved brilliantly from De Rossi. Senna and Camoranesi scored, but when Buffon saved from Guiza Italy were back in contention – only for Casillas to repeat his heroics to stop Di Natali’s spot-kick. Fabregas, on as substitute, was left to settle the affair and calmly beat Buffon to spark wild Spanish celebrations.

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