NEWS
Sunday June 10 2012
Italy player ratings v Spain

Hmm, how to stop the World and European champions in their tracks? With police raids at your training camp, a slew of injuries, a heavy defeat in your last warm up game and a last minute change of formation of course! Rating and slating the Azzurri performances after an impressive group opener in Gdansk.

Gigi Buffon: 7

Almost lobbed by Fernando Torres late on, but otherwise did the little he had to do well, saving a Cesc Fabregas shot and dashing out to nick the ball off Torres' toes. Confident.

Leonardo Bonucci: 5

Important block from Fabregas capped off a decent first half, but struggled as the game went on, hacking down Andres Iniesta. It was his over-hit pass which led to the Spanish equaliser. Erratic.

Daniele De Rossi: 8

An end of level boss. Just when La Furia Roja appeared to have tricked their way past everyobstacle standing between them and the Italian goal DDR intervened - again and again and again. Immense.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6

Important interceptions, silly fouls, rampaging runs upfield, the quintessential Chiello performance. Effervescent.  

Christian Maggio: 6

Faded somewhat after a sprightly start, but looked much more comfortable in his natural role as a wingback. Atoned for his errors against Russia. Competent.

Thiago Motta: 6.5

Combined graft with guile and did the simple things well – short passes, tackles, positional play. Almost became an unlikely hero when his header was parried by Iker Casillas on the verge of half time. Dutiful.

Andrea Pirlo: 7

One contribution of note but what a contribution it was, gliding past Sergio Busquets and skimming a pass into Antonio Di Natale's path for the opening goal. Elegant.

Claudio Marchisio: 6

Not quite his usual self, but got through a lot of work and twice forced Casillas into action, once in the first half and once in the second after an awesome slalom upfield in spite of his aching legs. Energetic.

Emanuele Giaccherini: 5

Making your international debut in an unfamiliar position, against the World Champions and four years after playing in Serie C2, can't be easy, and Giaccherini certainly didn't disgrace himself. Sadly though losing Fabregas for the equaliser is what we'll remember it for, and it could cost him his place. Unfortunate.

Mario Balotelli: 4.5

Started well enough but bolstered the arguments of those who consider him a liability by collecting a needless booking and dilly dallying when through on goal. Little doubt he deserved to be substituted. Careless.

Antonio Cassano: 7

Went close twice in the first half, roamed the channels and created chances for others. His substitution surely more to do with lack of fitness than dissatisfaction with his performance. Difficult to believe his career was at threat six months ago. Reborn.

Antonio Di Natale: 7.5

Four years after the agony of his missed penalty against Spain in Vienna and two years after his international career had seemingly ended in Johannesburg, Toto got his revenge, stroking a smooth finish past Casillas with his first touch. May have won himself a starting place. Redeemed.

Sebastian Giovinco: 6

Not particularly prominent after replacing Cassano but showed his class with a lovely clipped pass to set up a chance for Di Natale. Promising

Ratings by: Scott Fleming

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