Pedro gives Spain Italy win

A goal from Barcelona winger Pedro was enough for Spain to defeat Italy at Vicente Calderon.

Pedro netted just after the hour mark after sterling work from Andres Iniesta, who broke from inside his own half then popped up with a back heel in the Italy area, the ball eventually running for Pedro to finish.

The game was a watchable if not thrilling affair with the opening 10 minutes arguably the most entertaining period of the entire match.

Diego Costa was given a debut by Vicente Del Bosque while Javi Martinez started in the centre of defence, alongside Sergio Ramos.

Thiago Alcantara partnered his former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets in the centre of midfield with Cesar Azpilicueta getting a run out at right-back.

The performance of Thiago must rank up there with that of David Silva and Pedro as most pleasing for the Coach, the Bayern Munich midfielder showing why he has a place in possibly the best team in the world.

Italy deployed a back four, a three-man midfield and Antonio Candreva and Alessio Cerci supporting Dani Osvaldo in attack.

The hurried pace of the opening stages were totally out of kilter with what might be the expected international friendly fare.

Jordi Alba went rampaging down the left to latch onto an Iniesta pass, Cerci hit the post following a fine dribble and Pedro had a shot saved by Gianluigi Buffon, all inside the opening 10 minutes.

Iniesta was next to test Buffon before Cesc Fabregas skied a half-chance created by Azpilicueta, shinning the ball over from around the penalty spot.

Costa was as busy and industrious as when wearing Atletico Madrid colours in the same stadium, drawing fouls and forcing mistakes from the Italian defence. But too often his touch was heavy, perhaps a case of the new boy trying too hard.

An Osvaldo effort just before the half hour mark kept Spain on their toes and the Juventus forward’s effort signalled a spell of pressure for the Azzurri, but a series of corners came to naught.

Each side made three changes at half time, Victor Valdes, Xabi Alonso and Silva replacing Iker Casillas, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas for Spain.

Cesare Prandelli introduced Andrea Pirlo, Ignazio Abate and Mattio De Sciglio for Christian Maggio, Antonio Candreva and Domenico Criscito and switched to a diamond formation.

Silva was the substitute to make the greatest impression early, his angled pass freeing the impressive Thiago but Buffon snuffed out the chance.

Pirlo’s presence gave Italy more control of the ball than the first half but bar a few half-chances, the Azzurri were unable to make the most of the playmaker’s involvement.

Indeed, Silva was more dangerous when on the ball but the Manchester City player lacked end product, scuffing shots wide when well-placed. His link-up play was, though, delightful.

Silva was involved in the goal after Iniesta broke from deep. The former Valencia man was in the mix in the Italy box but was crowded out before getting a shot away, only for Pedro to hammer past Buffon.

Italy caused trouble with a set-piece almost immediately, Gabriel Paletta having a flick deflected over the bar but Spain made a decent effort of closing the game out. Italy stepped up their pressing but Spain moved the ball well and were rarely troubled.

Costa had a late chance to make it two after turning away from his marker but he pulled his shot wide. Substitutes Santi Cazorla and Jesus Navas also went close while an Italy corner caused palpitations in the Spain defence but the single goal proved enough for La Roja.

Spain 1-0 Italy

Scorer: Pedro 63

Spain: Casillas (Valdes 46); Azpilicueta, Javi Martinez, Sergio Ramos (Albiol 66), Alba; Busquets (Alonso 46), Thiago Alcantara; Pedro (Cazorla 82), Fabregas (Silva 46), Iniesta (Navas 66); Diego Costa

Italy: Buffon; Maggio (Abate 46), Paletta, Barzagli, Criscito (De Sciglio 46); Marchisio, Thiago Motta (Giaccherini 62), Montolivo; Candreva (Pirlo 46), Osvaldo (Immobile 69), Cerci (Destro 69)

Tags Diego Costa Italy Pedro Spain