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Dirty Tackle

Leonardo Bonucci ends streak of 12 perfect penalties to put Spain in Confederations Cup final

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Spain beat Italy on penalties in a match that seemed like it would never end to reach their first Confederations Cup final. After 120 minutes of blown opportunities from both sides, the rematch of the Euro 2012 final went to a penalty shootout and all of the sudden, no one could miss. The two teams put on a flawless display of penalty kick brilliance that started with a Panenka from Italy's Antonio Candreva which had Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas sitting on his butt and watching as it floated into the net.

Eleven more excellent penalties followed. Xavi and Alberto Aquilani. Andres Iniesta and Daniele De Rossi. Gerard Pique and Sebastian Giovinco. Sergio Ramos and Andrea Pirlo. Juan Mata and Riccardo Montolivo. Sergio Busquets and...then Italy defender Leonardo Bonucci sent his attempt sailing over the crossbar (pictured above). Spain just needed to make one more to win.

Jesus Navas then converted Spain's seventh successful spot kick to give them the win and set up a final against host nation Brazil. For Italy, it was a far superior performance to their last meeting with Spain, in which they were dominated 4-0. But neither side could've complained much about losing since both had plenty of golden chances to score during the two hours of play that preceded the shootout. It was an exhausting and largely frustrating game for both teams and one that Brazil probably enjoyed for both of those reasons.

Here's video of the full shootout (it's very much worth watching regardless of knowing the end result)...

Once it was all over, Iker Casillas stopped to trade shirts with Gianluigi Buffon before celebrating the victory, summing up the level of admiration the two worthy adversaries have for each other.

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