Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Round of 16 - Spain v. Italy

Morning, chaps! It's a big, big day at France 2016. We were fortunate to see some actual football yesterday, but the tournament will hopefully really take off today with two super matches on offer. We start with a bang at noon with a clash of titan - Spain and Italy. Ordinarily, these sides might meet each other in the latter stages of a tournament, if not the final itself. However, Croatia conspired to edge Spain into second, producing this premature battle. It should be fascinating to see how these two sides turn out against each other. Tiki taka vs. catenaccio. It'll be a tactical battle and one for the purists, for sure. Join me at lunchtime for this one.

105 Comments:

Blogger The Blue Devil said...

These teams will enter this match quietly, with some nervousness, and with a degree of caution – Italy because Spain tonked them 4-0 in the final of this competition four years ago; Spain because Italy are Italy again. Spain have the better players, most notably Andres Iniesta, but Italy’s teamwork is impressive and their back three and goalkeeper have been keeping clean sheets together for club and country since 1928.

11:44 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Italy make seven changes from the team that lost to the Republic of Ireland; Spain are unchanged, as they have been throughout the tournament.

Italy (3-1-4-2) Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; De Rossi; Florenzi, Parolo, Giaccherini, Di Sciglio; Pelle, Eder.
Subs: Sirigu, Marchetti, Darmian, Ogbonna, Candreva, Zaza, Motta, Immobile, Sturaro, Insigne, Bernardeschi, El Shaarawy.

Spain (4-1-2-3) De Gea; Juanfran, Pique, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets; Fabregas, Iniesta; Silva, Morata, Nolito.
Subs: Casillas, Rico, Azpilicueta, Bartra, Koke, Lucas Vazquez, Pedro, Bellerin, Thiago, San Jose, Bruno, Aduriz.

Referee Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

11:45 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Big news out of Blighty that Raheem Sterling is back in the side today against the Elves. He hasn't really got started yet but I'm hoping he's got his head together for today. Come on, England!

11:50 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

The teams are out on the pitch in St. Denis. Great atmosphere.

11:58 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

It seems to me this game could either be a classic, with lots of intrepid attacking, clever defending and incisive passing, or a complete borefest, where sterile domination meets the art of sitting back and soaking up pressure.

11:59 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Rain beginning to teem down in Paris now.

12:02 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

At least we've had a quick start here. All I ask is not a 0-0 draw going to extra time and penalties. I'm fed up with that. Last night's Copa America Final almost made me give up football altogether.

12:04 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

man, it is a pretty hard rain. This will impact the game.

12:05 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

The rain is so torrential that the ball isn't really rolling true now. Will they have to call this one off?

12:06 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Italy with the more incisive start. Kate e-mailed about your visit to our house. Thanks!

12:08 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Hiya, Alex - I agree; the fans are taking cover (but not Conte - he's a hard man). Water logged pitch?

12:08 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Half chance there for Eder - not taken. But a good start from the Azzurri.

Eder earns a free kick now.

12:09 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - great save by De Gea from a terrific header from Pelle. Corner now.

12:10 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Giaccharini with a great overhead effort off the post. The ref has given a high boot.

12:12 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

apparently none of these Spaniards lives on 'the plain' as they don't seem to handle the rain (which falls mainly on the plain) very well.

12:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Our pleasure, Alex - everything's shipshape. But it's been incredibly dry and hot here. We did get a bit of rain last night but it's blistering hot again today.

12:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

LOL! Nice "My Fair Lady" reference - one of my favorite musicals when I was a kid.

12:16 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Spain have done the square root of absolutely nothing at all in the first quarter of a hour of this match.

12:18 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

looks like the rain is letting off a bit.

12:19 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

That last play just outlines how much more Italian defenders get 'stuck in' defending, compared to the Spaniards for whom it is not a vocation.

12:21 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Very smart move bu the Italians to pressure the goals kicks. The long clearances are not being won by the Spaniards at all, so they have little possession.

12:22 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

I would give Ramos a yellow for that.

12:23 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

It's part of the Cruyff-influenced Spanish philosophy that any player can play at any position, which means that the center backs are a liability for Spain.

12:24 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

is that sunshine?

12:24 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Agreed. Guys like Jordi Alba or Sergi (back in the day) were forwards by training. We just saw how much of a liability Alba is on that last header.

12:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Bonnucci cuts out a Spanish attack and leads a storming run upfield. Great move leads to DiSciglio crossing and the header was just wide. That would have been a marvelous goal.

12:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Yes - suddenly it's a beautiful summer day in the Parisian suburbs.

12:28 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

First decent move by Spain but the cross from Alba is cut out by Bonucci. Add him to my Elland Road wish list.

12:29 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - that could easily have been 1-0 Italy through an own goal by Ramos - terrible slice on that cross.

12:30 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

It looks like the game is starting to settle into the expected Spain-possession mode, but I think their defense will remain suspect in the air and on counters. Italy missed an opportunity to kick ass when it was raining, but it's clear that there will be continued opportunities like that almost own-goal by Ramos.

12:30 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Italy look really dangerous from set pieces, though the second corner leads to a free-kick for Spain.

12:32 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Alba is looking like a huge liability. He is tiny and clutching jerseys every time there is a corner.

12:32 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Oooh. THis is a great spot for a free kick.

12:33 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I agree, although Spain are having to drop really deep to gain possession. Italy are doing really well spreading their attack through the full-backs.

Now they have a great free kick chance.

12:33 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Giacherini. Let's go!

12:33 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

GOAL! Great strike by Eder that was bobbled by De Gea and Chellini bundles it over the line!

Italy are 1-0 up! And well deserved!

12:35 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Shambolic defending, and bad goal-keeping.

12:36 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

UWS is defending his club goalkeeper De Gea there but I think he should have been able to hang on to that one.

12:36 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Nolito simulates getting hurt, not realizing that it was the ref who clipped him.

12:37 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Spain have a free kick, albeit from a great distance.

12:37 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

LOL! I missed that moment. Comical.

12:38 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

I don't know about holding onto the ball when it is wet, but spray out your rebounds to the side, not straight ahead.

12:38 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Busquets has been particularly poor. He is a bit slow and physically weak, despite his size, and the Italians are eating him up alive and rendering him surplus to the Spanish game.

12:39 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nolito with a corner now....

Punched out authoritatively by Buffon.

12:39 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

And now Nolito picks up a yellow card for a clip on De Rossi. It's not going well for him.

12:42 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Are you prepared psychologically for watching another Germany v. Italy match-up in Tuscany on Saturday?

12:45 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Cesc Fabregas has been woeful today as well. He's carried his poor form for Chelsea this past season into France 2016.

12:46 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Giaccharini pulls another great save out of De Gea.

12:46 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Spain is playing with fire. They are often defending with only 4 players.

Great save by De Gea.

12:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Half-time whistle goes - Italy have been far the superior team in this first half. They troop off complaining to the ref about some off the ball incident between Ramos and Eder but they and Conte will be delighted about where they are in this match.

12:48 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

I will actually be in Germany for the match, but it would not matter if I were in Russia or France. As I predicted when I was filling out my brackets, Italy will be sending Germany home in the quarters (I did not expect Spain to be on this side of the bracket).

See you in a few!

12:49 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Second half starting up now - the hapless Nolito has been replaced with the tall striker Aduriz, who has looked dangerous in earlier matches. Game on!

1:03 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Right - I had forgotten that you'd be in Germany then. On this form, you're right - Italy will be more than a match for Germany. But you never know with those games. Tight margins.

How was the anniversary celebration?

1:04 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Italy right back at it early on in this half.

1:04 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Bonucci is penalized for a handball there and it looked like the ref might have booked him as well, which would mean a suspension.

1:06 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

The free kick is deflected out for a corner. Iniesta to take...

Oh - Morata had a free header there but straight at Buffon.

1:07 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Morata falls over looking for a free kick - nothing doing from the Turkish ref.

1:08 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Spain have gained a bit of momentum here. Free kick floated in but it's eventually cleared out.

1:09 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

looking at this weather and its impact on the game, I started to think about how it could play to Iceland's advantage to see a squall.

However, I just checked, and they are playing in Nice, and it rains there once a year.

1:10 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Watch it, Pelle!

1:12 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Eder was through on goal there but De Gea stood up big and saved well at his feet.

1:13 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I want England to be absolutely rampant today and to lay down a marker.

1:13 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

THere will be more of those opportunities against a slow Spanish D as the game drags on. However, Italy may be starting to feel some self-doubt. They could be up 3-0.

1:14 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Aduriz gets to a header there but puts it over and he landed awkwardly.

1:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nearly an hour gone and still no real change in the Spanish approach.

1:16 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

THat is yellow! Bad call by the ref.

1:16 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - really cynical from Pique but the ref waved on!

1:16 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Decent thought by Morata there from a long ball from De Gea. Just not executed properly.

1:18 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - somehow Italy don't score again. Great cross over there but it was just tipped away from the front two pairing.

1:20 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Spain simply has noone who can win the ball in the midfield. Silva, Iniesta, Cesc not only don't tackle, but they don't track back. I see at least 3 more great opportunities for the Italians in the last half hour. If they put in one, it's game over.

1:20 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Not sure why Pelle gave up on that cross by Giaccharini - it was a perfectly weighted ball for him to attack.

1:22 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

except for fouling, the Spanish seem to have no idea how to win back a ball.

1:22 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I don't know the last time I've seen Spain have so much trouble hanging on to possession in midfield. That's their staple.

1:22 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Perhaps time for Del Bosque to make another change?

1:25 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Spain is not tough-tackling, but they put a lot of pressure on the ball. With waterlogged boots, they all seem to be attached to the ground.

1:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Wow - Morata gets the hook. I didn't expect that. That must sting. Vasquez on for him.

1:28 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

can't leave Ramos that free. Spain only has 4 guys who could head in a cross. They should have been marking him.

1:30 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Pelle and Fabregas have a coming together. Italian free kick.

1:30 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Poor free kick deflected into arms of De Gea.

1:30 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Vasquez is offside and still doesn't score.

1:32 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

France roared back furiously in the 2nd half. This is about as furious as a Sade ballad.

1:33 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

That was a nice volley, but easy to save.

1:34 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - decent cross by Silva but Aduriz couldn't get over it. And then a good save by Buffon from Iniesta's volley.

1:34 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Is Aduriz injured? He looks very un-mobile.

1:36 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Not nearly as good today. Pedro about to come on - Del Bosque's last roll of the dice with under fifteen minutes to play.

1:37 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Iniesta and Fabregas are pulling the strings. The former has been good, the latter very uninspired. Silva has been a major disappointment.

1:38 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

In fact, he is injured. Unlucky break, he has been playing injured the last 15 minutes.

1:39 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

You must be right - Aduriz is pulled for Pedro. The impressive Pedro gets a rest and someone named Insigne comes on. Don't know him.

1:40 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Time is ticking away for the Spanish here. I really hope that they can wrap things up in regular time. I've got lots of errands to do between the two matches.

1:41 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

And ManYoo man Darmian coming on to replace Florenzi.

1:42 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - the sub Insigne jinks by a couple of challenges and unleashes a great shot that's parried away by De Gea. Very direct from him - I love it.

1:43 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Sure, Spain may equalize, but it would be a stroke of luck. They are simply not putting any kind of authoritative stamp on the game.

1:44 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - cross shot by Silva is just inches away form Pedro's outstretched legs. Out for a corner.

That's wasted by Pedro - big hoof over the top.

1:45 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I agree - it would be a travesty for Spain to equalize now and take it to extra time (and possibly penalties!).

1:45 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Thiago Motta is yellowed carded for a poke at Busquets.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Pique is foiled by Buffon - just about scrambled away.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Busquets is such a whiner. Glad to see him get that card.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

The current European champions are minutes away from elimination at the Round of 16 stage.

1:48 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

All the big boys up for the corner now. Cleared out. Four minutes of stoppage time to come.

1:48 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

GOAL! Pelle seals it for the Azzurri!!!!!!

1:49 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Jon Champion says - "The end of Spain's reign." He'd been waiting for the opportunity to say that.

1:49 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

They kicked Spain's butt like they kicked Belgiums (albeit, they had tons of chances).

1:51 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Silva and Chellini getting involved now - Silva gets a yellow.

1:52 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

That's it - a consummate performance by the Italians today. They thoroughly outplayed Spain. On to Bordeaux and a Saturday evening classic with Germany.

I'm off now to do a few things between the games. I'll be back in half an hour or so with a fresh thread for the England game.

1:53 PM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

see you later. get those errands done.

1:54 PM  

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