Spain v. Italy: Stunning Semifinal Match Goes to PKs

The rematch didn't disappoint. Spain and Italy outdid their 2012 UEFA final with a thriller in Thursday's semis, with Spain nudging past by a 7-6 mark in penalty kicks. Despite two prolific offenses, neither side could net a goal for the 120 minutes of match time.

Italy had an early chance when Christian Maggio slipped past the Spanish defense, but defender Iker Casillas stepped up and prevented a further breakaway. Fernando Torres whipped a shot toward the end of the first half that just missed the mark, and Xavi failed to convert a late-match free kick for Spain. Things were tense from the get-go, but both sides inched closer to scoring in the final 30 minutes, with a Xavi bullet just tipped by keeper Gianluigi Buffon. After a rough start to the tournament, Buffon played magnificently in Italy's final outing.

With no score after the overtime periods, things moved to PKs, where Jesus Navas made the difference-maker. The only shooter to miss was Italy's Leonardo Bonucci, and Navas capitalized to propel Spain to a final with Brazil Sunday. That match, like both semi matches, should be nothing short of spectacular.

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Steven Goldstein

New York native, junior at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. I'm a beat writer for FOX Sports Next's Purple Wildcats, a Scout.com coverage site. I'm also a featured columnist at Bleacher Report, a top national sports destination, and a contributor to HipHopDX, TD Daily and KevinNottingham.com. I'm a freelancer for Liberty Mutual's Coach of the Year award in college football. I was an intern at PolicyMic's Manhattan office for the summer of 2013.

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