Here are my thoughts and observations from the 1-1 in Group C opener for both and Italy and Spain.
The good thing about Mario Balotelli is he'll do something everything will talk about afterwards. The bad thing about the Manchester City striker is he'll definitely leave everyone's head scratching. Okay, the first half booking was not surprising in any way. But utterly dumbfounding was his refusal on a breakaway to feed an unmarked Antonio Cassano in the 54th minute or failure to test Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Spain Misses David Villa
Or for that matter any forward who's in form. It's obvious that Fernando Torres cannot simply finish his chances. Shortly after entering the match in the 74th minute, the Chelsea forward was gifted a wonderful chance to give Spain the lead, but a terrible touch killed any possibility of that.
In addition, in the 85th minute he wasted another chance to put Spain in front when his lob failed to find an empty goal. A confident Torres (like he was at Liverpool) would have put away those chances. It would be surprising if Alvaro Negredo or Fernando Llorente don't see significant action during the rest of the tournament.
Both Teams Are in Good Shape Going Forward
While overall a draw is a better result for Italy, Spain (aside from concerns up front) shouldn't have any serious worries advancing to the knockout stage. Italy, in large part due to the work of Cassano, looked dangerous in attack. Of course, no one knows where Balotelli's head is at. But the Azzuri should feel confident with Cassano and goal scorer Antonio Di Natale.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!