Nico Williams leads majestic Spain into final 16 with win over Italy at Euro 2024 | EUROtoday

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There they have been, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Andrea Cambiaso, sizing up the youthful, fitter, sooner, stronger man in entrance of them as soon as once more, like a few wounded bouncers realising that they had bitten off greater than they might chew however have been in a combat they might not get out of. And Nico Williams simply wouldn’t cease coming at them.

Attack after assault, an unsparing, devastating opponent who regarded like he might hold doing this lengthy into the evening and by no means get drained. Luciano Spalletti, the Italy coach, had despatched on Cambiaso at half-time within the hope that, in tandem with Di Lorenzo, they could a minimum of have the ability to discourage the juggernaut down Spain’s proper flank. The drawback was Williams took even larger pleasure and motivation from the possibility to wreak double the destruction.

By the time the Athletic Bilbao ahead took his depart to a standing ovation with 12 minutes remaining, having hit the crossbar, dazzled and delighted and conjured the transfer that will see Italy’s Riccardo Calafiori flip the ball into his personal web for the purpose that settled a grotesquely one-sided recreation, Italy’s defence regarded out on its ft.

The 1-0 scoreline did scant justice to the dimensions of Spain’s dominance or the majesty of a show that had a little bit of the whole lot bar the bundle of targets their superiority and elegant soccer deserved. Only Italy’s goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, who made two wonderful saves late within the recreation to disclaim Mikel Oyarzabal after a sequence of wonderful first half stops, prevented The Red from operating up a cricket rating right here.

Williams was the stand-out performer, a relentless, irresistible pressure in partnership with Marc Cucurella down the left, however there have been excellent shows all around the pitch. No one will wish to be paired with Luis de la Fuente’s facet on this kind within the knockout rounds.