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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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1846: HALFTIME: Spain 0, Italy 0. After Iniesta volleys over following a precise pass from Xavi, Thiago Motta has a diving header superbly clawed away by Casillas at the other end. All to play for in the second half.

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1840: The first yellow card of the game is given _ and surprise, surprise, it’s that man Mario Balotelli. He fouled Pique moments earlier when Casillas spilled Cassano’s effort and was warned by the referee to be careful. Moments later, he’s in the book after a cynical trip on Jordi Alba. He’s putting himself about a bit here, Balotelli. He’d better be careful.

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1838: Cassano trips Casillas, who spends a little too long on the ball when he takes a back pass, and the referee gives a free kick to Spain. That seems to have shaken Casillas a little bit. He appeared OK, though, in saving a low shot from Cassano soon after.

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