Italy took their place in the quarter-finals with a dramatic 3-1 win over ten-man Spain at Cairo's Al Salam Stadium. The excellent Andrea Mazzarani emerged as the hero, scoring one and setting up another, while Vincenzo Fiorillo saved a late penalty as Gli Azzurrini survived a spirited onslaught from their European rivals.
Spain deserved credit for staying with their opponents long after Alberto Botio had seen red for a rash first-half lunge, but the Italians are past masters at closing out victories in the knockout phase and rose to the occasion with their best performance thus far. Their intentions became clear from as early as the ninth minute, when a superb flowing move ended with Mazzarani teeing up Fabio Sciacca for a low shot that skidded into the side-netting.
Spain were already struggling to gain a foothold in the game when Botio was given his marching orders for an ugly tackle on Mattia Mustacchio, although they might have taken the lead six minutes into the second half when Aaron Niguez smashed a right-foot shot just over from 20 yards.
However, this merely provided the spark for the most exciting - and, for Spain, costly - period of the game, with Mazzarani slipping Mustacchio to prod Italy into the lead the very next minute as Spain conceded their first goal of the tournament. They almost hit back straight from the kick-off, with Niguez again the man to try his luck from distance and Fiorillo this time forced to tip the ball on to the face of the bar.
Niguez held his head in his hands and, within five minutes, it looked to be all over for La Roja as Mazzarani took advantage of a misjudgement from Oriel Romeu to bustle his way through and poked a right-foot shot beyond Sergio Asenjo. However, a frantic finish was assured when Michelangelo Albertazzi needlessly tugged back Andre Herreira in the box, conceding a penalty from which Niguez cheekily the ball past the committed Fiorillo.
There were 25 minutes still remaining at this stage, but Fiorillo was to have his revenge, guessing right to save a second penalty from Niguez after the Celta Vigo winger had been taken down by Matteo Brusagin. All doubt was removed soon after when Mustacchio raced clear in the left channel to complete the scoring with a precise, low left-foot drive.