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Spain Through

120 minutes of turgid, unimaginative football was not enough to decide the winner between Spain and Italy, but Spain managed to pull out the victory and advance to the semis, 4-2 on penalties. Don't get me wrong - I love a nil-nil match involving skill and strategy - but neither was in much supply today, as Italy continued to display terribly un-Italian football, and Spain were not much better.

On penalties, Cazorla and Senna took the second and third shots for Spain; Cazorla's was hard and low, while Senna's was adventurously high and in the top of the net.

Player Rankings:

Capdevila: 5. He did not do anything poorly, but he did nothing spectacular either. His attacking play was tepid, but his defense was solid enough.

Senna: 6.5. Senna was involved in most of the attacking play by Spain, despite the fact that he was playing a defensive role for much of the match. It was his inspired shot that nearly ended the match in regulation, drilling it through the usually-sure hands of Buffon, only to be denied by a stingy post. His penalty, as mentioned above, was splendid, as penalties go.

Cazorla: 6. Cazorla started very slowly when he came on for Iniesta, but he eventually turned it on, and played a somewhat creative role. He had the opportunity in the 120' to slide a cross to David Villa, but shot instead and wasted the opportunity.

And, although not a Villarreal player, I must say, Casillas has probably acquired the title of World's Number 1, after a sold match in which his only mistake led to his beautiful kick save on Cameronesi. Stopping De Rossi and Di Nitale on penalties won the match for the Spaniards.