Silva threat

With King Juan Carlos in the crowd, it was largely Spain who were rising to the occasion. Villa tested Buffon with a free-kick but it was the waspish Silva who was displaying the most menace. Seven minutes before half-time he fired a low effort past the post after a blocked Torres shot fell his way. He then profited from another fortuitous opening soon after the restart, when

the ball cannoned into his path eight metres out. After a clever turn it took a timely intervention from the excellent Giorgio Chiellini to deny Silva. The Azzurri centre-back was immense, and slowly his team-mates began to respond. Just past the hour a long ball caused mayhem in the Spain defence, dropping favourably for substitute Mauro Camoranesi who forced a smothering save from Casillas.

Buffon escape
At the other end, with time ebbing away, Senna worked Buffon with a free-kick and then a low shot that bounced awkwardly in front of the goalkeeper, the ball evading his grasp and spinning on to the post before he fell on to it at the second attempt. It was a propitious bounce but there was no luck involved when the Italy No1 dived to keep out G├╝iza's effort with three minutes remaining, even if play was subsequently called back for handball. Such reactions would prove invaluable in the concluding penalty shoot-out, but, unfortunately for Roberto Donadoni's world champions, they came predominantly from Casillas.

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