After successfully keeping the Spaniards at bay for 120 minutes, Italy then stumbled at the penultimate hurdle of the Confederations Cup by finishing on the losing side of a tense 7-6 penalty shootout.
A total of seven Juventus players featured in Cesare Prandelli’s starting line-up: Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo, Emanuele Giaccherini and Claudio Marchisio, while Sebastian Giovinco entered the action at the end of regulation time and played a key role for the Azzurri in the final half hour before penalties.
The two Euro 2012 finalists could not be separated in regulation or extra-time and so after 120 minutes of football, the scoreline remained goalless and a penalty shootout was required to determine a winner.
During open play, Bianconeri midfielder Giaccherini came closest to finding the back of the net when he beat Iker Casillas with a fierce left-footed strike early on in extra-time, only to see the ball rattle off the woodwork and spiral out of harm’s way.
Giovinco and Pirlo both managed to successfully convert their penalties in a nailbiting shootout which eventually came to an end when Bonucci failed to hit the target and then Jesús Navas narrowly slotted past the dive of captain Buffon. The final scoreline read 7-6 in favour of Spain.
The final acts of the Confederations Cup are both scheduled to take place on Sunday as Italy contest the third place playoff against Martin Caceres’ Uruguay at 1pm (6pm CET) while Spain face hosts Brazil in the grand final at 7pm (midnight CET) at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.