SPANISH FOOTBALL | SPORTS: FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP SEMI FINAL | SPAIN WINS ITALY 7 - 6 IN PENALTY SHOOT OUT

FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP SEMI FINAL | SPAIN WINS ITALY 7 - 6 IN PENALTY SHOOT OUT

Spain has won Italy in a dramatic semi-final with a dramatic penalty shoot-out 7 - 6 after 120 minutes of extreme Football which ended in a 0 - 0 draw. Both sides took themselves & their rival to the limit & almost to complete exhaustion as the heat & humidity took its toll.

The penalty shoot-out is a lottery &,  the nerves of steel plus some luck are more a factor than Football in itself. Unfortunately for Italy Bonucci missed the 6th penalty shot & luckily Jesus Navas fired home the winner & 7th penalty to send home Italy from the FIFA Confederations Cup & send Spain onto the Sunday Final at the "Maracana Stadium" against the host Brazil & the "dreamt" finale.


Spanish Football 2013

The first half was clearly all Italy with numerous opportunities that they did not manage to convert & two vital saves from the Spanish Captain & goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Spain looked unfamiliar & was suffocated in the midfield with some fierce Italian pressure. The men of the match for Spain were being their defenders Gerard Pique & Sergio Ramos & it was to stay this way until the end. This last comment says it all on how brave, disciplined & adventurous Italy was tonight & how Spain was on the back foot. 

Spanish Soccer 2013

Spain in the second half managed to halt the "haemorrhage" & began to calm themselves & regain their Football, yet here as with Italy in the first half Spain did not manage to convert their chances into goals. Italy more conservative however continued to be dangerous especially when Spain relaxed & they attack dangerously to create their own chances. 

World Soccer 2013

Spanish Coach Del Bosque moved the bench with Jesus Navas , Mata & Javi Martinez ( as Centre Forward ) coming on to inject freshness, pace & perhaps the "surprise factor". Italy as they know so well historically held out & the match went into extra-time.

The 30 mins of extra-time saw a post to Italy & half a dozen missed chances to Spain that also included a post to Xavi Hernandez. The tiredness & exhaustion then set in as it floored players from both sides & took proceedings to the penalty shoot-out.

Both teams did not fail taking the penalty shoot-out score-line & the nerve to the limits until Italian Bonucci missed & Spaniard Jesus Navas settled things with the winning penalty. Here Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas looked out of place & perhaps his 5 months out on the sidelines showed, but destiny smiled on Casillas tonight & on Spain as both manage to avoid the possible criticisms that may have fallen on both if things had turned different. At least Casillas can be proud to have saved Spain in the first half at least.

As for Italy, they were fantastic & made their country proud as they leave with their heads well high. They had their chances & could have won, but as the saying goes, that's Football. Spain has the luck of the Champions.

Spain will now need to recover physically from tonight's effort as Brazil will enjoy an extra day of rest. Spain also will rethink their strategy & will have back two important players for the upcoming Final; Cesc Fabregas & Roberto Soldado.

The World now awaits the grand finale, Brazil vs Spain. 


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