Not just the end of a tournament for Spain but the end of a domination, the end of an era. In all likelihood this meek defeat by a terrific and emerging Italian team will spell the end of coach Vicente del Bosque too.
The Azzurri avenged their loss on penalties by La Roja in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 and then again, four years later, when they were routed by Spain 4-0 in the tournament decider.
Giorgio Chiellini scored the game’s opening goal, bundling home from close range after David de Gea had parried an Eder free-kick in greasy conditions in the first half.
And Southampton striker Graziano Pelle sealed victory in injury time, volleying home from eight yards after an attempted clearance from substitute Matteo Darmian’s cross had looped up invitingly as Italy hit a tiring team on the break.
This was a crushing defeat for Spain, the European champions of 2012 and 2008. Del Bosque’s team were outplayed and out thought by a magnificent Italian side led by the incredible life force that is the incoming Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.
While Italy looked youthful and energetic and hungry, Spain looked like a team short of inspiration and ideas.
Del Bosque has done his bit, that’s for sure. Two European Championships and one World Cup. His team taught the world a few things in South Africa in 2010 and we shall never forget that.
The defeat ends Spain’s quest for a third consecutive European Championship title and secure the Italians a mouth-watering quarter-final tie against world champions Germany.

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