Spain qualify for last 16 after Riccardo Calafiori’s own goal floors Italy

Luis de la Fuente had described Spain v Italy as a clásico, a game that could easily be a final; watching this, he might have been half right. The team he coaches beat Italy by an own goal, scored by Riccardo Calafiori, to win the Group of Death with a match to spare but that doesn’t tell the story, nor begin to express the way they took Italy apart. The surprise was not that Luciano Spalletti’s side had lost here but that they did so narrowly, somehow alive to the last.

Spain are in the next round; if they continue to play like this, they will surely go further too. Reaching the final, on this evidence, is no fantasy. The concern may be that a destruction so complete did not deliver a more comfortable victory, but what a performance this was, 20 shots fired off, 50 attacks launched, and illustrious opponents taken to pieces from the first minute to the last, when Ayoze Pérez came on and twice almost made it two. One would have to do, somehow.

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