NEWS
Sunday July 1 2012
Italy v Spain Player Ratings

Thanks for making them angry, 'Spain are boring' lobbyists! Rating the Azzurri after injuries, fatigue and a history-making Spain side made it a grim end to a glorious campaign in Kiev.

Italy player ratings v Spain

Gigi Buffon: 6

Protected so well by his defence throughout the tournament, but was left vulnerable tonight. Despite having to pick the ball out of his net four times, had little to reproach himself for. We'll always have the YouTube videos Gigi... Dignified.

Ignazio Abate: 6

What is it about his head that opposition players’ elbows find so irresistible? Always seems to be in the wars.. Still, attacked with trademark vigour and put some tempting crosses into the box. Willing.

Andrea Barzagli: 5

One of the stars of Italy's campaign, but the man who is famous for never being flustered looked decidedly flustered for most of the evening and was culpable for most, if not all, the goals. Ragged.

Leonardo Bonucci: 5.5

Don't cry, Leo! OK tonight was more painful than those photoshoots you all do posing in the dressing room in your pants, but you've had a splendid tournament, and you were better than Barzagli...slightly. Exposed.

Giorgio Chiellini: 4

A defender going off injured early should be a disaster, in Chiellini's case it was a relief. Only on the pitch for 20 minutes, but what a painful 20 minutes they were. Dragged this way and that, shanked passes, exposed by Cesc Fabregas in the build-up to the opening goal. Blundering.

Claudio Marchisio: 6

Though not quite as influential going forward since Cesare Prandelli ditched the 3-5-2, the Juve dynamo has run himself into the ground for the team and tonight was no different. Deserves his sun lounger more than anyone else. Industrious.

Andrea Pirlo: 6

Had the temerity to not be magnificent for once. But never stopped working, looking for the ball and doing the defensive work that no one ever seems to notice. Ah well at least we have him all to ourselves again, away from those commentators who think his name is 'midfield metronome'. Reserved.

Daniele De Rossi: 5

The work rate was there, and so was the passing, but there were also careless moments that you don't expect from someone of his class. The bearded one's mislaid pass led to the fourth Spanish goal and shouldn't he have made more of an effort to press Xabi in the build-up to the second? Sloppy.

Riccardo Montolivo: 7

Italy's best player on the night. Inventive, intelligent, created the Azzurri's best chance of the game with a sublime reverse pass. Very unfortunate to be withdrawn so early. Milan fans, you are now allowed to get excited about signing him. If you so choose. Silky.

Antonio Cassano: 5

FantAntonio's form has fluctuated throughout the competition and after an exemplary showing against Germany he was ineffective tonight, wasting his one good chance with a tame shot dribbled straight into the arms of Iker Casillas. Hooked at half time. Withdrawn.

Mario Balotelli: 6.5

There were no shots lashed into the top corner tonight, no iconic celebrations, but all the improvements he has made were there to see in his performance, the work rate, the willingness and perhaps most importantly, the composure. Not so very long ago he would have found that second half far too frustrating and got himself sent off. Maturing.

Federico Balzaretti: 6.5

Unlucky to be benched in the first place, Balzaretti produced another diligent display after stepping in for Chiellini, mixing feisty incursions forward with well-timed challenges at the back. A pleasant surprise ever since his first appearance v Ireland. Capable.

Antonio Di Natale: 5

Thrown into action in place of Cassano at half time as Prandelli took evasive action, but wasted two very good chances with a header over the bar and a shot straight at Casillas. Will cherish the memory of his goal against the Spaniards earlier in the tournament, but ultimately this was another disappointing performance at a major tournament from Toto. Unreliable.

Thiago Motta: n/a

Stepped onto the field in the 56th minute, stretchered off it in the 60th, his thigh strain leaving Italy with 10 men for the last half hour. Crocked.

Ratings by: Scott Fleming

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