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Lively Spain, Italy scoreless after first half

Fabian Ruiz Spain Federico Chiesa Italy Fabian Ruiz and Federico Chiesa - The Canadian Press

Lacking a cutting edge, Spain were held to a scoreless draw at the half by Italy in Group B action from Gelsenkirchen at UEFA Euro 2024.

The match was a record 12th played between the two sides at a Euro.

Spain looked dangerous from the opening kick-off.

In just the second minute, Nico Williams galloped down the right with aplomb before providing terrific service to Pedri whose header was forced over the bar by Gianluigi Donnarumma. It was a fine reaction from the Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper, but Pedri could have done better.

Then it was Williams who probably could have scored. Taking a sublime cross from Alvaro Morata, the Athletic winger headed wide from close range in the 11th. A more clinical Spain would have been two up. Williams proved himself a menace for a majority of the first 45 with Giovanni Di Lorenzo doing well to keep up.

In the 26th, Donnarumma took centre stage. Morata cut inside on the left and shot from a tight angle that Donnarumma parried away. The ball eventually fell to Fabian Ruiz whose effort from distance was tipped over the bar by a terrific diving save by Donnarumma.

Late in the half, it was Williams again who came close. Played in by Pedri, he was dispossessed at the last second by a smart play from Alessandro Bastoni in the 39th.

Unai Simon cut a solitary figure in the Spain net, having had little to do over the course of the half. Playing up front, Gianluca Scamacca was far too isolated to trouble the Spanish backline.

Federico Chiesa had Italy's best chance on the counter towards the end of the 45, but he sent his shot well over the bar.