Match Analysis: Euro 2012 - Spain 1-1 Italy

Cesc Fabregas
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you some analysis from as Spain began the defence of their European Championships crown with a 1-1 draw against Italy.

Having seen fellow favourites Holland and Germany begin their campaigns yesterday evening, it was the turn of defending champions Spain to make their first appearance at Euro 2012 this afternoon.

In Italy they faced a team famed for having a stubborn defence and so it was proved in Gdansk as the two side's played out a 1-1 draw.

Read on for Sports Mole's analysis of the 90 minutes in the Gdansk Stadium.

Spain Statistics:
Shots 19
On target 6
Possession 65%
Corners 7
Fouls 13

Italy Statistics:
Shots 11
On target 6
Possession 35%
Corners 2
Fouls 19

Was the result fair?

Spain may well have controlled the encounter in terms of possession, but Italy were well worth their point.

Spain's performance

Quite why Vicente Del Bosque didn't start the match with a striker is a head scratcher. Although Torres fluffed every chance that went his way after his introduction, it highlighted that a striker was required from the word go.

Italy's performance

Typically Italian! While at times it wasn't pretty, Cesare Prandelli's side did everything they needed to in order to secure a draw. The composure that Antonio Di Natale showed in front of goal is also worth a mention.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Andres Iniesta: You run out of superlatives to describe the Spanish and Barcelona attacker. He was at the centre of anything good that the Spaniards conjured up against their opponents. His ability to glide past defenders is a joy to watch.

Referee performance

No complaints about the performance of Hungary's finest referee Viktor Kassai. He allowed the game to flow and only cautioned players when the offence merited it.

Biggest gaffe of the game

Take your pick from anything Fernando Torres did during his 17 minutes on the pitch! We are going for his first involvement when he allowed Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to get the better of him in a one-on-one situation.

What next?

Spain: Providing they begin their remaining games with a recognised striker Spain should comfortably see off Croatia and the Republic of Ireland to advance through.

Italy: Having collected a point from what looks to be their hardest group game, Italy will be confident of progression. Four points from the next two matches should do it.

Fernando Torres
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