Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2013 Contents FORTALEZA, Brazil---Jesus Navas scored the
decisive penalty as World Cup holder Spain
beat Italy 7-6 in a shootout yesterday after
extra time ended 0-0, setting up a showdown
with host Brazil in the Confederations Cup
Nobody missed in the shootout until Italy
defender Leonardo Bonucci shot high to give
Navas an attempt at the winner and the Seville
midfielder cooly beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Buf-
fon to send Spain to another major final.
In draining heat and humidity, each side hit
the woodwork in extra time. Emanuele Giac-
cherini smashed a shot off the post in the 93rd
minute and Buffon deflected a shot from Xavi
Hernandez off the post in the 115th.
Italy will face Uruguay in the third-place
match in Salvador, also Sunday.
In a rematch of the Euro 2012 final, which
Spain won 4-0, Italy threatened early on even
without the injured Mario Balotelli, relying on
counterattacks, while Spain relied on its usual
game of short passes and ball possession.
The roles reversed in the second half but it
wasn t until extra time that each side produced
some of the match s best chances.
When English referee Howard Webb whistled
the end of extra time in the 120th minute, the
crowd inside the Castelao Stadium cheered
loudly, applauding two classy teams.
Before kickoff, about 5,000 anti-government
protesters battled police about 2 kilometres (1
mile) from the stadium.
More protests are expected Sunday at the
final of the World Cup warm-up tournament
at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Yesterdays were the latest in a series of mas-
sive, nationwide protests that have hit Brazil
since June 17. Demonstrators are angered about
corruption and poor public services despite a
heavy tax burden.
Protests are also denouncing the billions of
dollars spent to host the World Cup and the
2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Sunday is the fourth major final Spain will
play in five years, having won the 2008 and
2012 European Championships plus the 2010
Inside the stadium, which appeared full,
there was overwhelming support for Italy from
the local fans, who were perhaps afraid of facing
Spain in the final. Spain was booed early on
every time it took the ball.
Christian Maggio had the best chance of the
first half in the 36th with a header inside the
box that Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas did well
A minute later, Xavi Hernandez set up Spain s
only real chance early on as Fernando Torres
Reverted to a three-man defense, Italy coach
Cesare Prandelli made another tactical move
to start the second half, replacing center back
Andrea Barzagli with midfielder Riccardo Mon-
tolivo and putting De Rossi at the centre of the
Seeking to inject some energy into his squad,
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque sent on Navas
for David Silva in the 52nd and Navas had the
first significant chance of the second half six
minutes later with a long, low effort that Buffon
The roles reversed as the second half wore
on, with Italy controlling more and and Spain
resorting more to counterattacks. Italy had a
series of corner kicks at one point but had
trouble producing chances.
Navas threatened in the 92nd with a long
shot that appeared to surprise Buffon but the
goalkeeper quickly recovered. A minute later,
Giaccherini hit the post and then Jordi Alba
volleyed high from close range as all of a sudden
there was a flurry of chances.
In the shootout, Italy went first and Antonio
Candreva, Alberto Aquilani, Daniele De Rossi,
Sebastian Giovinco, Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo
Montolivo each converted near perfect penalties
for the Azzurri. Bonucci is a center back who
rarely, if ever, takes penalties.
However, Spain matched Italy shot for shot
with Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Gerard
Pique, Sergio Ramos, Juan Mata and Sergio
Busquets each finding the target before Navas
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SWANSEA, Wales---Swansea has
added another Spanish player to its
squad by signing centre back Jordi
Amat from Espanyol for £2.5 million
The 21-year-old Amat has agreed to
a four-year deal with the Premier
League club and will become its sec-
ond signing of the summer, after Jose
Canas from La Liga side Real Betis,
subject to passing a medical examina-
Swansea, which is managed by Den-
mark great Michael Laudrup, has
raided Spain for a host of signings in
recent years---notably last summer
when it signed prolific forward Michu
for £2 million (now US$3.05 million)
from Rayo Vallecano and winger Pablo
Hernandez from Valencia.
Laudrup spent seven years of his
playing career in Spain with Barcelona
and Real Madrid, and subsequently
had coaching spells with Getafe and
Amat joins Spanish contingent at Swansea
ISTANBUL---Portugal and Nigeria
won their final Group B matches to
reach the last 16 of the Under-20
World Cup yesterday, while third-
place South Korea still has a chance
Spain and France had already
advanced from Group A, and Spain
won the group with a 2-1 win over
the French. Captain Paco Alcacer
and Jese scored before substitute
Thibaut Vion found the net for France
in injury time.
The United States, which hasn t
reached the knockout stages since
2007, finished last in the group after
a 4-1 defeat by Ghana.
Portugal striker Bruma scored his
fourth and fifth goals of the event
to help the two-time champions beat
Cuba 5-0 and top the group, while
Nigeria defeated South Korea 1-0
after an early goal by Olarenwaju
Kayode and overtook the Asians for
Ricardo, Aladje and To Ze also
found the net for Portugal, while
Bruma almost added a sixth but hit
It was Portugal s biggest ever win
in the competition, improving on 3-
0 defeats of Argentina in 1991 and
the Netherlands four years later.
Portugal won the title in 1989 and
91 and finished runner-up to Brazil
two years ago. Cuba, which lost all
three games and became the first
team to be eliminated, was making
its debut appearance.
Nigeria secured its victory after
Kayode was left unmarked by the
South Korean defense and headed
home a free kick by captain Abdul
Ajagun in the ninth minute.
South Korea still has a chance to
advance as one of the best four third-
Ghana had more possession in the
opening half hour but the US was
still able to create three scoring
chances. However, a header and later
a shot by Mario Rodriguez both
lacked power, and a powerful 20-
metre (yard) effort by Jose Villarreal
brought a diving save from goalkeeper
US keeper Cody Cropper reacted
quickly while lying on the ground to
save a shot from six meters by
Lawrence Lartey In the 35th minute.
But Cropper had no chance shortly
afterward, when several American
defenders failed to clear the ball from
the area and Frank Acheampong fired
home a low shot.
Another piece of weak defending
allowed the unmarked Ebenezer Assi-
fuah to curl the ball past Cropper in
the 58th the minute.
Shane O Neill pulled a goal back
for the Americans from Oscar Sorto s
cross in the 69th, the US wasn t able
to stage a comeback.
Assifuah scored his second of the
game nine minutes later and Kennedy
Ashia added Ghana s in the 83rd.
It was the first defeat for the US
team against an African opponent
since losing 2-0 to Egypt in 2001.
The US qualified for Turkey after
finishing runner-up to Mexico in the
Concacaf Under-20 championship
earlier this year.
But it was drawn into what is
widely regarded as the toughest group
with two European powerhouses and
Ghana, which won the title in 2009
and has never failed to qualify for
the knockout stage in its five previous
Victories send Portugal, Nigeria into U-20 last 16
Spain beats Italy 7-6 on
penalties to reach final
Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, left, fails to score from the spot past Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas
during the penalty shootout of the soccer Confederations Cup semifinal match between Spain
and Italy at Castelao stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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