World Cup - Costa draws blank as Spain labour to win over Italy

International friendly, Estadio Vicente Calderon - Spain 1 (Pedro 63) Italy 0

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World Cup - Costa draws blank as Spain labour to win over Italy
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Diego Costa (España) y Cristian Maggio (Italia)

Pedro's second-half strike gave Spain a 1-0 win in their friendly against a makeshift Italy side at the Estadio Vicente Calderón.

Question marks will be raised over Gianluigi Buffon's failure to keep out the Barcelona player's low shot on 63 minutes after the Italian veteran saw the ball squirm under his legs and into the net.

In truth, it was a rather tame affair between the sides. Diego Costa played out the full 90 minutes but endured a rather indifferent debut in a Spain shirt. Gabriel Paletta was Italy's brightest note of the night, the full-back enjoying his first match for the national team.

The opening minutes of the match proved to be the most exciting of the evening with Alessio Cerci striking the post in the fourth minute of the match.

Although Spain dominated possession it was perhaps the visitors who had the better of the chances in the first-half with Dani Osvaldo also going close after some neat footwork allowed him space but he curled his shot wide of the target.

A number of changes for both sides in the opening minutes of the second period - including the introduction of the impressive David Silva and Italy veteran Andrea Pirlo - disrupted the match with very few opportunities of note taking place.

That was until Pedro found the net after some decent build up play from Andres Iniesta and Silva.

Costa had a great opportunity to double Spain's advantage with 10 minutes remaining in the match but, after turning his marker and bursting into space, he screwed the ball wide of the goal.

That miss summed up a match which really descended into a rather disappointing encounter but it was certainly good preparation for two sides who will be looking for a much better showing in Brazil.

KEY MOMENTS

4' CHANCE - Cerci causes Spain all kinds of problems on the flank before delivering a cross into the danger area but the ball ends up hitting the post and Casillas collects.

28' CHANCE - Best chance so far as Osvaldo almosts put Italy ahead after a lovely piece of skill on the edge of the area before curling the ball just wide of the target. Casillas was beaten.

63' GOAL! 1-0! Spain have finally broken the deadlock! Pedro strikes the ball at goal and it's squirmed under Buffon's legs.

80' CHANCE - That was Costa's big chance! The forward turned away from his marker inside the penalty area but screws the ball across the face of goal. Should have done better.

KEY STATS

Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon are the only two players in this Italian side who have more than 100 international caps.

Spain have now won four of the last 15 meetings with Italy also winning four and the two nations have drawn on seven occasions.

Both Italy and Spain remained unbeaten in their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

TALKING POINT: Is Diego Costa all he's cracked up to be at international level? The Brazil-born striker endured a fairly anodyne debut for his adopted country and perhaps he will not be the man to fire Spain to World Cup glory, as has previously been suggested.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Pedro (Spain): The Barcelona forward was a threat coming forward for Spain throughout the 80 odd minutes he played. He was quite lucky in getting on the scoresheet but overall he probably deserved the fortune as he was a constant thorn in the Italian defence all night.

PLAYER RATINGS

Spain: Casillas 6; Azpilicueta 6, Martinez 6, Ramos 6, Alba 7; Busquets 7, Thiago 7; Pedro 9, Fabregas 6, Iniesta 8; Costa 6. Subs: Valdes 6 , Albiol 6, Alonso 6, Navas 7, Cazorla 7, Silva 8.

Italy: Buffon 5; Maggio 6, Paletta 8, Barzagli 6, Criscito 6; Marchisio 6, Motta 7, Montolivo 6; Candreva 7, Osvaldo 7, Cerci 7. Subs: Sirigu 6, Abate 6, De Sciglio 6, Destro 6, Immobile 6, Pirlo 7.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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