Italy 1 - Spain 1
(Peruzzi 46'); Panucci, Cannavaro (Ferrari 46'), Materazzi, Zambrotta; Fiore
(Diana 75'), Perrotta (Ambrosini 46'), Pirlo (Nervo 75'); Baggio (Miccoli 83');
Vieri (Corradi 75'), Di Vaio (Favalli 66'). 4-3-1-2.
Spain produced an acceptable 1-1 draw with Italy in their last real test before Iñaki Sáez names his squad for the upcoming Euro 2004 championship. The manager decided to start off with what will probably be his first choice line up in Portugal (with the exception of the injured Puyol and Marchena), but was disappointed that his opponents had not taken the game as seriously. Trapattoni's side were missing most of their big names, Del Piero, Totti, Inzaghi, Cassano, Gattuso, Nesta, Maldini, Toldo etc., with Roberto Baggio being given a place in the side for the first time in five years as a testimonial prior to his retirement.
Spain started well, with Buffon saving from Raúl early on, and Iván Helguera was unlucky to have a goal disallowed by English referee Graham Poll for a non existent offside in the eighth minute. But although they were the better side for the rest of the first half, they were unable to produce any real chances, and went in at half time with the scores unchanged.
Both managers made the usual round of substitutions at the break, Sáez in particular replacing his front two with Valerón and Fernando Torres. And within seven minutes of the restart the two combined to open the scoring after Albelda had won the ball back, Torres running on to Valerón's precision pass to shoot low across Peruzzi for his first full international goal. The lead only lasted four minutes though before Vieri got on the end of Fiore's cross to head past Casillas and level the scores.
After that Spain had their chances, in particular a shot from Torres which Peruzzi just managed to stop and another effort from Xavi which brushed the crossbar. But the result for once was not that important, and the competent performance was probably enough to convince Sáez that most of today's squad can already book their tickets for Portugal. Italy will obviously be a different prospect in Portugal with all their stars, but at least it gave Baggio an opportunity to make his exit on the big stage. Spain will be happy he is not there. The previous time he played them back in 1994, his goal knocked them out of the World Cup.