European champions Spain yesterday forced Italy to a 1-1 draw with Cesc Fabregas having to rescue them from a shock defeat. With the draw Spain has garnered a point in the Euro 2012 campaign opener in Group C.
Antonio Di Natale drew first blood for the Azzurri in 60 minutes, coming straight off the substitutes’ bench to put his side ahead, but only four minutes later, Cesc Fabregas ensured their opening day ended with a share of the spoils in Gdansk. The Barcelona midfielder replied almost immediately after Antonio Di Natale’s strike on the hour mark to earn La Furia Roja a valuable point in the opening match of the Group.
The headline news that preceded the match was the inclusion of Cesc Fabregas as the man who would be bestowed with leading the line for the Spaniards in a ‘false No.9’ role, ahead of recognised strikers Fernando Torres and Fernando Llorente.
Coach Cesare Prandelli went into the game with a 3-5-2 formation, with Daniele De Rossi lining up in defence. Emanuele Giaccherini was also given his maiden bow for the Azzurri at left wing-back, and he did no harm to his case for a starting role in the future.
Predictably, inside the first 10 minutes, Spain set their stall, as Italy was put on the back foot.