Euro 2024: A brilliant Spain get past Italy

An own goal proved the difference between the two but Spain were the better side throughout
Spain v Italy: Group B - UEFA EURO 2024
Spain v Italy: Group B - UEFA EURO 2024 / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

If the final score line of Spain's 3-0 win over Croatia didn't tell the whole story, neither did Spain's 1-0 win over Italy with the Spanish side already booking their ticket to the knockout phase of Euro 2024.

Lamine Yamal was the standout in the match against Croatia but it was Nico Williams who stole the show this time around. The width on Spain's left and right flanks overwhelmed Italy with Giovanni Di Lorenzo beaten time and time again by Williams.

It was Williams who had the first of Spain's chances only to see his header go wide in the first half. Had it not been for Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy could have gone into the break down by at least a goal.

The breakthrough for Spain finally came in the 55th minute though perhaps not in the way they envisioned it.

Once again, it was Nico Williams down the left. The Athletic Bilbao winger sent in a cross that was deflected by a header from Alvaro Morata with Donnarumma getting a touch to deflect it. It was in that deflection that the ball then ended up hitting Riccardo Calafiori for an own goal, giving Spain the lead.

Spain had a handful of opportunities to add to their lead as they had a header cleared off the line, a Lamine Yamal curler go just wide and a Nico Williams shot hit off the crossbar.

italy finally managed to get into the game thanks in part to the substitutions from Spain coach Luis de la Fuente. Pedri and Yamal came off meaning Italy didn't have to worry as much about one of the flanks.

Things got a little more easier when Williams got taken off.

Credit to Spain's defense who held well with Marc Cucurella having an exceptional game both attacking and defending. In defense, he used his physicality well to win the ball back and then going forward, he always seemed to find an outlet to release the ball.

One of Spain's substitutions that worked out was Ayoze Perez. The Betis player provided that danger that seemed to go missing after the changes and had a few occasions late to clinch the win for Spain.

In the end, Spain had to settle for the 1-0 win. A narrow win but a win they will take nonetheless as not only have they progressed to the knockout phase, but they've done it by playing well in the process.

"That might be the best game we've played of all the ones I've coached," De la Fuente said after the game. "We played against a superb, world-class team. We controlled and the only downer was not to convert more of our chances."

Having progressed, Spain now have the added benefit of resting a number of their players in the final group stage game against Albania. Rodri picked up a yellow meaning he'll be unavailable for that match.


Of the "big nations," Spain were almost an afterthought in terms of the tournament favorites. While France may still be everyone's favorite to win it, Spain have certainly risen up the ranks given not only their performances but the underwhelming ones of other countries like England.