Rome

Soccer: 'Great' Italy in penalty loss to Spain

'Touching' semi-final defeat to Confederations Cup favourites

Soccer: 'Great' Italy in penalty loss to Spain

Rome, June 28 - Italy played a "great game" before losing 8-7 in a penalty shoot-out to Spain in the Confederations Cup semi-final Thursday night, coach Cesare Prandelli said Friday. Prandelli said pre-match favourite, European and world champions Spain, were "still ahead" but Italy was "growing" and had "always been in the game", which ended scoreless after 120 minutes. "In these conditions, with players out and tired, it's almost impossible to reach the top," said the Tuscan coach, adding that the Azzurri put in a "touching" performance in holding one of the greatest teams of all time. Spain beat Italy 4-0 to secure their second straight European crown last year after winning the World Cup against Netherlands in 2010. Leonardo Bonucci, the Juventus defender who blasted his kick into the stands to put Spain through to the final against hosts Brazil Saturday, said "I'll practise spot kicks for a year".

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