All the worry and all the conspiracy theories proved to be unfounded.
It may not have been as clean as it could have been, but the Italians were able to finally keep a clean sheet and preserve a well-deserved victory. The fears of a prearranged 2-2 draw between Spain and Croatia were never realized, and the Italians—after making four player changes and a shift back to Cesare Prandelli's favored diamond 4-4-2—made it through to the quarterfinal.
Indeed, they were unlucky not to win Group C, after an 88th minute goal by Jesus Navas gave Spain a 1-0 victory and secured the defending champions the top spot.
The Azzurri now await one of three teams from Group D—France, England, or Ukraine—to face in the final quarterfinal match.
Who were the most important players in Italy's victory? Let's see how everyone grades out.