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Riccardo Calafiori own goal sends Spain into last 16 at Euro 2024
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Spain’s Alvaro Morata and Lamine Yamal (left) celebrate after Italy’s Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal (Nick Potts/PA)
Spain’s Alvaro Morata and Lamine Yamal (left) celebrate after Italy’s Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal (Nick Potts/PA)

Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal handed Spain a 1-0 victory over defending champions Italy as they booked their place in the last 16 at Euro 2024.

The defender’s misfortune 10 minutes after the break ultimately settled the Group B contest in Gelsenkirchen, although had it not been for the heroics of keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made a string of fine saves, and the crossbar, which denied the impressive Nico Williams a deserved goal, the Spaniards would have prevailed in some comfort.

Spain would have been ahead within two minutes had Donnarumma not managed to tip Pedri’s header from Williams’ pinpoint cross over his bar, and the traffic was very much one-way in the early stages.

Williams himself passed up a glorious 10th-minute opportunity to open the scoring when he contrived to head wide from Alvaro Morata’s equally inviting cross with the goal at his mercy.

Donnarumma was called upon again twice within seconds, first blocking Morata’s shot from a tight angle after good work by 16-year-old Lamine Yamal before turning Fabian Ruiz’s searing drive over.

Williams was causing all kinds of problems for Giovanni Di Lorenzo down the Italian right, while Yamal was equally prominent on the other flank, but it was Ruiz who tested Donnarumma four minutes before the break with another sweetly-struck attempt from distance.

Italy boss Luciano Spalletti opted for change at the break, sending on Bryan Cristante and Andrea Cambiaso for Jorginho and Davide Frattesi in a bid to gain a foothold, but Cristante was left walking a tightrope within seconds when he was booked for an ugly challenge on Rodri.

Pedri should have put the 2008 and 2012 winners ahead within seven minutes of the restart when he ran on to Marc Cucurella’s pull-back, but stabbed wastefully wide, and although he did hit the target from 20 yards seconds later, Donnarumma was equal to the task.

The Italy keeper was finally beaten with 55 minutes gone when Morata flicked on Williams’ cross and Donnarumma palmed it on to the helpless Calafiori, who could only bundle it into his own net.

Morata saw a long-range attempt palmed over and Yamal curled another just wide as Spain went for the kill, prompting a response from the Italians which saw Cambiaso fire a dangerous ball across Unai Simon’s six-yard box with substitute Mateo Retegui lurking.

However, Williams rattled the crossbar with a swerving attempt which left Donnarumma helpless, although he had to be at his best to save from substitute Ayoze Perez twice at the death.


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