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Hosts Italy hold off stylish Spain in EURO 1980 Group 2 opener

Spain 0-0 Italy
Spain impressed for long periods but could not find a way past a wily Italian defence.

Dino Zoff's goal comes under pressure in the hosts' meeting with Spain
Dino Zoff's goal comes under pressure in the hosts' meeting with Spain Icon Sport via Getty Images

Though there was plenty to admire from both sides, neither Italy nor Spain could break the deadlock in their opening group fixture.

Previous winners of the UEFA European Championship, both teams knew the size of the task that awaited them in a section also including England and Belgium. With only the country finishing top going through to the final, this first assignment was always likely to be decisive.

EURO 1980: All you need to know

The hosts, aided by the space granted to them by Spain's deep-lying sweeper José Ramón Alexanco, often had more of the play in Milan but were still unable to unpick the lock. Claudio Gentile was the Azzurri's most influential figure but only came as close as forcing a smart near-post save from Luis Arconada.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 1980

Despite his team often surrendering possession, Jesús Zamora was a match for Giancarlo Antognoni's excellence in midfield and Spain made the better opportunities. Jesús Satrústegui had a goal disallowed, Quini should have done better with a header from Dani's free-kick, and Juanito chipped a set piece against the bar after 70 minutes.

That notorious old enforcer Romeo Benetti came on to quell Quini in expert fashion, and Italy held out. They did so, however, with concern that the strike partnership of Roberto Bettega and Francesco Graziani was beginning to creak at the edges.

EURO 1980: Team of the Tournament


Italy line up at San Siro
Italy line up at San SiroIcon Sport via Getty Images

Spain: Arconada; Gordillo, Migueli, Alexanko, Tendillo; Quini, Zamora, Asensi (c), Saura; Satrúsegui, Dani (Juanito 53)
Substitutes: none listed
Coach: László Kubala

Italy: Zoff (c); Cabrini (Benetti 56), Collovati, Scirea, Gentile; Antogoni, Tardelli, Oriali; Bettega, Graziani, Causio
Substitutes: none listed
Coach: Enzo Bearzot

Referee: Károly Palotai (Hungary)