Friday 28 June 2013
Manchester City's new winger Jesus Navas scored the winning penalty as Spain reached the FIFA Confederations Cup final with a shootout victory over Italy.
In a goalless but engaging draw in Fortaleza, Navas came on as a second-half substitute for clubmate David Silva to inject pace and penetration into Spain’s attack, and it was City’s summer signing who converted Spain’s seventh successful penalty to end Italy’s resistance.
In a close-fought contest it was Italy who gave a better account of themselves in the first half, carving out a series of chances which missed the target or found goalkeeper Iker Casillas in unbeatable form. Spain's only chance of the first period fell to Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who span his marker in the area before sending a low shot wide.
The world and European champions improved after the interval, following the introduction of Navas, and Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, with Xavi Hernanez hitting the woodwork with a curling shot and Emanuele Giaccherini rattling a post in extra-time.
In sweltering temperatures both sides gave as good as they got but there was still no separating the two sides when Barclays Premier League referee Howard Webb, who was assisted by assistant referees Michael Mullarkey and Darren Cann, blew the whistle after 120 minutes.
With Italy leading 5-4 on penalties Mata held his nerve to take the shoot-out to sudden death and when Leonardo Bonucci became the first player from either side to miss by blazing over the bar, Navas kept his cool to beat Gianluigi Buffon from 12 yards.
Spain will meet host Brazil in the Rio de Janeiro final on Sunday evening, while Italy will face Uruguay earlier in the day.
Spain 0-0 Italy (Spain win 7-6 on penalties)
All kick-off times BST
Third-place play off
Uruguay v Italy, 5pm
Brazil v Spain, 11pm
Spain overcame France 2-1 in their final group match as both sides progressed from Group A to reach the last 16. Jese scored one and made the other for Paco Alcacer. Manchester City's Denis Suarez was a 77th-minute substitute for "La Rojita", who dominated France, who nonetheless qualified as runners-up due to Ghana’s 4-1 win over a United States side including Southampton goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
Meanwhile, Portugal stormed into the knockout stage as Group B winners after thrashing Cuba 5-0 and are joined by runners-up Nigeria who edged a 1-0 victory against South Korea.
Spain 2-1 France
Ghana 4-1 United States
South Korea 0-1 Nigeria
Portugal 5-0 Cuba
Australia v Turkey, 7pm
El Salvador v Colombia, 7pm
Greece v Paraguay, 4pm
Mali v Mexico, 4pm