THE DAY REPLAYED – Italy outplayed Spain in every department to set up a quarter-final encounter against another European powerhouse, Germany. Iceland, meanwhile, upset the odds once again to dump out an England side who were found wanting for wherewithal and inspiration. FIFA.com rounds up the action in the final two UEFA EURO 2016 Round of 16 ties.
The day's results
Italy 2-0 Spain
England 1-2 Iceland
Conte and Co stymie spain
Italy dished out their second lesson of the tournament, schooling Spain in much the same manner as they did Belgium in the group stage. The Spaniards were restricted to playing the match on the Italians' terms and suffered because of it. Frustrated by the tight-knit unit in front of them, the defending champions' attacking game broke down and they ended up looking bereft of ideas, misplacing plenty of passes and sending countless crosses into the box that were meat and drink for the Italian backline.
That is not to say that all the Azzurri did was spoil, though. They created too, particularly down the flanks, where Mattia De Sciglio and Alessandro Florenzi were well aware of the task at hand and delivered with aplomb. Their forays forward were well thought out and perfectly orchestrated. It was Giorgio Chiellini, however, who gave his team the lead their dominance richly deserved just after the half-hour mark, just like Emanuele Giaccherini – who produced another industrious display – had done against the Red Devils. Only a handful of top-class David de Gea saves denied Antonio Conte's men a more comfortable advantage thereafter.
In what was a superb team performance, Italy's individuals also came up with the goods at just the right times. Gianluigi Buffon scuppered Spain's comeback hopes, notably foiling Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique, while Graziano Pelle volleyed home clinically to settle the contest in added time, in another parallel with the Belgium game. Now Conte and his diligent pupils face what promises to be another tough test in the quarter-finals against Germany.
Is the sky the limit for Iceland? England were clearly wary of being on the receiving end of a giant-killing and their supporters made as much plain from the outset with a rousing rendition of their signature chant, "Don't take me home". Nevertheless, four minutes in and they will have been feeling pretty confident of staying around for at least a few days further, after Wayne Rooney converted from the penalty spot.
Despite this early setback, the Icelanders were not about to go down without a fight and showcased all the pluck and camaraderie that have characterised their French adventure. As if it had been written in the stars, Ragnar Sigurdsson reignited their dreams practically right from the restart, leaving the Three Lions with it all to do again just two minutes after they put their noses in front. 12 minutes later, it went from bad to worse for the pre-match favourites when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent the underdogs ahead. Finding themselves trailing, to widespread amazement, the English struggled to summon a response, bossing possession but failing to make it count, while Iceland matched them stroke for stroke and threatened to score a third.
It was assumed that England would come out all guns blazing after the interval, but the much-anticipated rally never materialised. Harry Kane remained off the boil, Jack Wilshere was unable to make an impact and Jamie Vardy was similarly ineffectual after replacing Raheem Sterling, who was not at the races once again. The minutes ticked by and an equaliser began to appear increasingly unlikely for Roy Hodgson's charges, who in the event simply froze. The Icelandic David had slain the English Goliath, who looked like anything but. On this evidence, hosts France should expect a formidable challenge in the quarters.
Highlight of the day
Italy were not only a class above tactically, physically and in their collective endeavours, they were also technically superior to their opponents, which is something to write home about when you are up against Spain. Their confidence was epitomised when Daniele De Rossi gave a certain Andres Iniesta a taste of his own medicine, nutmegging the Spanish midfield maestro while Sergio Busquets and David Silva looked on as if spellbound.
115 – Wayne Rooney made his 115th appearance for England against Iceland, becoming the country's joint-most-capped outfield player alongside David Beckham. The captain marked the occasion with his 53rd international goal.
What they said
"I knew the lads were going to do their utmost and that they had something special in them. Now we have a very hard game against Germany, but we've shown that Italian football is about more than catenaccio. Italy vs Germany is the sort of match that sends shivers down your spine beforehand. It's going to be incredibly difficult, probably even more so than today."
Italy coach Antonio Conte
Quarter-finals (all times local)
Thursday 30 June
Friday 1 July
Thursday 2 July
Sunday 3 July
The winners of UEFA EURO 2016 go on to represent Europe at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017