This confrontation had "game of the tournament" written all over it, on paper that is. However, it quickly turned out as the most boring game of football of the year.
Neither team managed to produce the level of football they were expected, with jeering fans and lacklustre opportunities for goals on both side; this game failed to live up to its expectations.
Spain had control of the game throughout, with early efforts from Ambrossini, Perotta, Villa and Silva all just adding to Buffon's workout routine. The Spanish armada's onslaught was met by a "Fort Knox" like Italian defense, solid, compact and most of all not allowing any opportunity to turn into a goal; occasionally the Italians were up front with burst of ingenuity and set play.
They had one of the most unmissable chances to seal the deal on 61st minute; when Camoranesi should have scored, yet Casillas rushing back into his goal, somehow made that most important of saves.
This kept his team and country in the competition by the skin of their teeth in one of the most agitated moments of the match.
Chances would come both ways, the clearest though must have been Senna's 25 yarder on 81st minute, Buffon tested in all measures saw the ball releasing itself from its grip finding the near post in what must have been a heart bouncing moment for the Italian keeper and captain!!!
Cometh extra time, efforts from all side in the form of shots headers and more shots from Silva, Di natale, Rossi and a late one from Cazorla all but failed to produce that one goal the crowds of fans were looking forward to. The game was further stretched on to the much dreaded penalty shoot outs session.
On paper, statistics were stacked against Spain as the date 22nd of June is synonymous with failures in all major competition, 22nd June Euro 1996 against England losing on penalties, 22nd of June world cup 2002 again on penalties losing to South Korea.
Yet today, the 22nd of June 2008 Spain turned the tables crushing "La Squadra Azzurra" with Fabregas sending his team off to the semis and the Italians back home to watch the rest of the Euro in high definition.