I thought Spain deserved to win last night because they played very well. It’s not easy to hold the Italians goal-less for 120 minutes!
I love penalty shoot-outs. Not only because they keep you on the edge of your seat but also because they show the true class of a player.
In a match that does not end up in a penalty shoot-out, the team that is better on that particular day, wins. However, penalty shoot-outs can swing either way! It’s not about the team, it’s about individual players. Faced with a world-class goal keeper, a player has a 50-50 chance of scoring the penalty.
Penalty shoot-outs are also the test of a player’s nerves, mental fortitude & intelligence – qualities that Cesc Fabregas seems to posses in abundance. The Arsenal mid-fielder is the new talent to watch out for on the Spanish team. He took the last penalty shot, which he was under pressure to score in order to eliminate Italy from the competition (or the Italians could have leveled the shoot-out as well). All of 21 years old & faced with a goal-keeper of the caliber of Gigi Buffon, he was resolute & swift, and with a kick sent the ball flying right past Buffon & sent his team into the semi-finals!
I think Gigi Buffon is a rockstar!! Had he not saved Adrian Mutu’s penalty in Italy’s last league match against Romania, Italy would not have made it to the quarter-finals. It was a brilliant save but Casillas was just better than Buffon yesterday.
So…a win well-deserved by Spain. They play Russia in the semis. I haven’t seen any of Russia’s games but I’ve heard they’re good. Especially Asharvin. Should be a match worth watching.