Italy 2 Spain 0: Talking points

CONTE'S EMPHASIS ON ATTACK PAID OFF

Written off before the tournament, Italy are more than the sum of their parts and that is in large part down to their coach Antonio Conte.

Italy asphyxiated their opponents in the first half - rather than doing all the defending, they did all the attacking, pressing high and thoroughly deserving their lead when it arrived through Giorgio Chiellini after 33 minutes.

Spain created nothing of note in the first period and could not break down the Italians in the second half.

HOW THE BBC SILENCED MORATA

Spain finally appeared to have a centre-forward worthy of the name at this European Championship in the shape of Alvaro Morata.

Scorer of three goals in the group stage, he nevertheless found the going far tougher when he was up against an Italian defence comprising players he has called his team-mates at Juventus in the last two seasons.

Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, aka the BBC, along with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, ensured that Morata provided no threat during his 70 minutes.

MISSED PENALTY AGAINST CROATIA THE KEY

If Sergio Ramos had not had his penalty saved in Spain's final group game against Croatia with the score at 1-1, Vicente del Bosque's side would have avoided facing Italy in the last 16.

At the other end, it all went downhill after Croatia ended the Spaniards' 734-minute Euro shutout with a double, and the skipper went on to suffer another torrid time in defence against the Italian attack at the Stade de France.

Eder and Graziano Pelle were outstanding in blue and the latter thoroughly merited his goal when it arrived at the death.

KIT CONTRIBUTED TO THE WHITEWASH

Spain do not much enjoy playing in their white change kit. As master statistician @2010MisterChip pointed out on Twitter at the beginning of the evening, La Roja had lost their previous five matches at a major tournament while wearing white. Here was another loss to add to the painful list.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Italy 2 Spain 0: Talking points'. Print Edition | Subscribe