Written by on June 21, 2024

Written by: Floyd Nkanyane

In a Euro 2024 clash that had more one-way traffic than a Roman chariot race, Spain cruised into the last 16 with a deceptively narrow 1-0 victory over Italy. The scoreline, however, tells a tale as misleading as a politician’s promise.

From the kick-off, Spain unleashed a barrage that would have made the ancient conquistadors proud. Poor Gianluigi Donnarumma in the Italian goal must have felt like he was starring in his own action movie, pulling off saves that would make Spider-Man envious. Within two minutes, he was already airborne, swatting away Pedri’s header like an irritating fly.

But the real star of the Spanish show was Nico Williams, who tormented Italy’s right-back Di Lorenzo so mercilessly, you half expected the defender to call for a restraining order. Williams danced down the wing like a matador, leaving the Italian defense looking like confused bulls.

The Spanish onslaught continued in the second half, with chances flying around like confetti at a wedding. But it was Italy who finally cracked, inadvertently doing Spain’s job for them. Poor Riccardo Calafiori, in a moment of confusion that would baffle even the most experienced pizza maker, turned Williams’ cross into his own net. Talk about scoring an own goal in more ways than one!

Not content with this gift, Spain kept pushing. Young Lamine Yamal, at the tender age of 16, nearly wrote himself into the history books with a shot that whistled past the top corner. Williams, not to be outdone, rattled the crossbar with a curler so sweet it could have given spectators cavities.

Italy, meanwhile, seemed to have left their attacking prowess back in Rome, managing just one measly shot on target. It was as if they had confused Euro 2024 with a defensive masterclass seminar.

As the final whistle blew, Spain marched on to the last 16 as group winners, leaving Italy to ponder if they should have brought their Roman shields to the match. Donnarumma, meanwhile, probably deserves a vacation and a medal for his heroic, albeit futile, efforts.

In the end, it was a Spanish masterpiece, an Italian tragedy, and a football spectacle that had everything… except Italian shots on goal.

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