Udine: Two-time defending champion Spain began their preparations for the European Championship with a 1-1 draw against Italy in a friendly on Thursday.
Substitute Lorenzo Insigne fired Italy in front in the 68th minute, sliding in to meet Emanuele Giaccherini’s cross. It was the first goal Spain had conceded in nearly 700 minutes.
Italy’s lead lasted just two minutes before Aritz Aduriz leveled with his first international goal, tapping in the rebound after Gianluigi Buffon parried a header by Alvaro Morata, who appeared to be offside.
“I got the response from Italy that I wanted,” said Italy coach Antonio Conte, after his first match since it was announced he was leaving after Euro 2016. “I liked the performance, but I want to win and we only drew tonight.
“We conceded from a dead-ball situation once again. But the Italians can stay calm, we will be a squad in France, we will do our best.”
Italy were the more dangerous side and Spain— who beat the Azzurri 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final to successfully defend its title — did not have a shot on goal in the first half.
“Italy made more chances than us, but we did good things,” Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. “We lacked possession of the ball. We should have risked more. I hope we’ll be in better condition in the Euros.”
Spain goalkeeper David de Gea pulled off several saves, including two to deny Insigne, who was a real threat after coming on for Eder in the 51st minute.
Buffon was rarely challenged.
There was a minute’s silence before the match to honor the victims of the Brussels attacks as well as the 13 exchange students — seven of them Italian — killed in a bus crash in Spain.
Wales also drew 1-1 against Northern Ireland, thanks to a last-minute penalty from Simon Church, while the Czech Republic began their preparations with a 1-0 home defeat to Scotland.
Iceland also lost to a team which failed to qualify for the tournament as two goals in four minutes from Nicolai Jorgensen helped Denmark win 2-1.
Cenk Tosun scored twice to help Turkey to a 2-1 victory over Sweden, which rested Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Ukraine beat Cyprus 1-0.
Elsewhere, Malta’s match against Moldova and Estonia’s against Norway ended goalless. Greece beat Montenegro 2-1. AP