Wednesday, 26 March 2008

[Azzurri 2008] Italy struck by Villa thunderbolt

A wonderful left-footed volley from substitute David Villa 12 minutes from time gave Spain a 1-0 victory against world champions Italy in a friendly international in Elche.

Estadio Luis Valero, Elche
Italy made a positive start and after 13 minutes Luca Toni headed an Andrea Pirlo free-kick from the left into the Spanish net but the goal was controversially ruled out for an alleged foul by Fabio Cannavaro at the far post.

The home side quickly got the ball back in play with Fernando Torres making an impressive run down the left. The striker crossed well for David Silva, whose right-footed volley flashed just wide of Gianluigi Buffon's right-hand post.

Spain started to dominate possession in midfield and Buffon was forced to make two saves in quick succession to deny Torres and Cesc Fabregas. Shortly before half time the Azzurri 'keeper made an agile dive to his right to palm another dangerous low shot from Fabregas wide.

Italy threatened from the start of the second half, when Mauro Camoranesi latched on to a low cross by Fabio Grosso and shot left-footed against the bar with Iker Casillas beaten.

Christian Panucci then headed a Daniele De Rossi free-kick over from close range while Spain had a good opportunity to take the lead when Fabregas shot from close range but Buffon made another good save, blocking the midfielder's effort with his body.

Casillas responded with a fine save of his own to deny Camoranesi after the Argentina-born midfielder found himself with only the Real Madrid goalkeeper to beat after a superb one-two with De Rossi.

However, Roberto Donadoni's side were undone as Cannavaro headed a long ball from Xabi Alonso towards Villa, who found the top corner of Buffon's goal with a tremendous volley.

Italy will have one final warm-up game ahead of the European Championship finals against Belgium in Florence on May 30.

Spain: Casillas, Sergio Ramos (Arbeloa 75), Marchena, Puyol (Albiol 18), Capdevila, Senna (Riera 59), Silva, Iniesta (Xabi Alonso 59), Xavi (Luis Garcia 68), Fabregas, Torres (Villa 46).
Italy: Buffon, Panucci (Zambrotta 68), Cannavaro, Materazzi (Barzagli 46), Grosso, De Rossi, Pirlo (Gattuso 46), Camoranesi, Perrotta (Aquilani 61), Di Natale (Iaquinta 75), Toni (Borriello 46)

[Match Report] - [Azzurri Reaction] - [Euro 2008 Rivals]

Source: UEFA

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