Spain Vs. Italy, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, 0-0 But Better Than Expected

Spain and Italy are keeping to the script stylistically, as both teams are a lot more concerned with keeping the ball than they are with attacking the goal, but it's been a better game than one might expect given those goals. There's been plenty of pretty passing and some decent shots from both teams, but but goalkeepers and defenses have been on their games early in a 0-0 stalemate.

Daniele De Rossi, best known for his usual exploits as a defensive midfielder, is playing as a central defender in Italy's back three and he's been the man of the match to this point. Without a true No. 9 to take advantage of the fact that he's not actually a defender, De Rossi has won every challenge he's entered. It's a brilliant tactic for Italy, actually. If your opponent is going to play an attacking midfielder at striker, why not play a defensive midfielder at center back?

Even though Spain could probably do with a center forward and Fernando Llorente could do a lot to change this game, Spain's problems aren't exactly due to a lack of a focal point in attack. The interchanging between the front three has been good, but David Silva have missed a couple of chances, while all of Italy's back three have played very well. Spain's biggest chance came just before the half, with Andres Iniesta putting a shot over the bar after setting himself up with a great first touch on a through ball.

Italy's biggest concern heading into the second half is probably going to be Mario Balotelli and what exactly they should do with him. He's been wasteful going forward and he already has a yellow card. They'd probably be well served asking Antonio Di Natale to warm up at halftime unless they want to end up with 10 men before the game is over. Interestingly enough, their best chance also came right at the end of the half, through their box-to-box midfielder. Antonio Cassano set it up with a great ball into the box for Thiago Motta, who forced a good save from Iker Casillas with his header.

We have live coverage of the game in our Spain vs. Italy, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

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