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EURO 2012 LIVE: Ireland vs. Croatia

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1927: The Spanish certainly seem to be encouraged by that goal. After chants of ‘Ole’ from their fans as they are treated to a minute of intricate passing, Navas wins a corner. Torres is limbering up on the touchline.

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1924: That was an unbelievable pass from Silva, who let the ball roll across him and with one deft flick tears open an Italian defense that has held so strong for over an hour. That pass from Silva was his last contribution to the match _ Jesus Navas replaces him. Spain has won 11 of its last 12 competitive matches going into halftime 0-0. Its only loss was against Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup.

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1922: Italy didn’t have the lead for long. Fabregas is the goalscorer for Spain, the Barcelona player driving a low finish into the net after a pass from Silva. We’re all square with 27 minutes remaining.

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1920: GOAL! Spain 1, Italy 1.

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1918: What an entrance for Di Natale! With one of his first touches of the ball, he runs on to Pirlo’s majestic through-ball and slips a finish past Casillas.

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1916: GOAL! Spain 0, Italy 1.

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1911: Oh dear, Balotelli. What a waste. He does really well to catch Sergio Ramos in possession wide on the right and closes in on goal, before slowing down to walking pace, trying to trick Casillas into moving first. But he stands there for so long that Ramos chases back 30 yards and produces a potentially goal-saving tackle on Balotelli. That’s the Manchester City striker’s last action of the match _ he comes off for Antonio Di Natale.

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1907: Fernando Torres is out warming up for Spain, who had 57 percent of first-half possession. Fabregas brings a good save out of Buffon in the Italy goal with a curling shot. Iniesta then gets down the left, escapes a challenge from De Rossi and forces a fingertip save from Casillas. He is looking dangerous, Iniesta.

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1901: Second half begins in front of 38,869 spectators _ more than 1,000 short of capacity for a match between the winners of the last two World Cups. Here’s Spain assistant coach Toni Grande speaking on Spanish TV about why the team opted for Fabregas up front: “It wasn’t an easy decision to take. We were thinking about this plan for some time but then he (Fabregas) arrived at camp with an injury. But he looked good, strong, confident, and we decided to go with that option. This doesn’t mean anything for the other games, it’s only about today.”

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1852: Italy will go into the dressing rooms the happier side at half time. The team will have seen enough to feel it could sneak a goal and the longer the defending champions go without bringing on a striker, the better for Italy. Iniesta looks the most dangerous player for Spain but they can’t break down Italy’s obdurate defense. A spot of “One Step Beyond” by English 80s band Madness is keeping the crowd happy at the break.

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