Aritz Aduriz equalised Lorenzo Insigne as Spain held Italy to a draw in Udine but David De Gea was the star of the show for La Roja.
Insigne gave Italy a deserved lead, the first goal Spain had conceded in more than 600 minutes, but the advantage didn’t last long, Aduriz levelling though there should have been an offside flag before his emphatic finish.
De Gea meanwhile produced save after save, keeping his side in the game when it was goalless and preventing Italy re-taking the lead at 1-1.
Aduriz’s goals for Athletic Bilbao won him a start, six years after his last appearance for La Roja, while De Gea got the chance to play from the off ahead of captain Iker Casillas.
Italy, for their part, went with an experimental 3-4-3 formation as outgoing Coach Antonio Conte considered his options ahead of Euro 2016.
The Azzurri looked to get behind La Roja – wearing almost all white – and an Antonio Candreva cross had to be poked behind by captain Sergio Ramos, the ball hitting the post on the way out.
It was De Gea needed next as Antonio Candreva shot from range, the Manchester United stopper forced into a difficult save.
De Gea wasn’t nearly so tested when Graziano Pelle fed Alessandro Florenzi, whose cross-shot was tame, but it was Italy doing all the attacking – and Vicente Del Bosque had something else to worry about as he was wiped out on the touchline by the assistant referee.
The assistant on the other side had his flag up – wrongly – when Aduriz and Alvaro Morata looked to combine, but Gianluigi Buffon was there anywhere.
De Gea was twice tested by the home side late in the first half while Sergio Ramos saw a header charged down as the deadlock remained unbroken by half time.
The United custodian was to thank for it staying that way at the hour mark when he saved from substitute Insigne and again from Florenzi, Italy remaining more dynamic than Spain but Spain showing more than they did in the first half.
But De Gea was helpless when Italy cut open the team ahead of him, Emanuele Giaccherini getting space to the left of the penalty area and squaring for Insigne to convert.
Spain’s equaliser wasn’t so easy on the eye and there was nothing subtle about Aduriz’s final touch, a powerful whack into the roof of Buffon’s net.
Insigne could have had a second when he went for a lob over De Gea but at full stretch the attempt was tipped over the bar before Morata tried likewise but Buffon wasn’t troubled.
Spain had a late flurry with as a cross was sent into the penalty area but the European champions didn’t deserve victory, and the game duly ended level.
Italy 1-1 Spain
Insigne 67 [ITA], Aduriz 70 [ESP]
Italy: Buffon; Astori, Bonucci, Darmian; Giaccherini (Antonelli 78), Parolo (Jorginho 89), Thiago Motta, Florenzi (De Silvestri 89; Eder (Insigne 50), Pelle (Zaza 60), Candreva (Bernardeschi 60)
Spain: De Gea; Juanfran (Alba 78), Pique, Ramos (Nacho 46), Azpilicueta; San Jose, Cesc, Thiago (Isco 61), Mata (Koke 46); Morata (Alcacer 86), Aduriz (Silva 70)
Referee: Deniz Aytekin [GER]