Fernando Torres missed two golden chances as Italy unearthed a performance of real character to hold defending champion Spain to a 1-1 draw at the PGE Arena in Gdansk Monday morning Thailand time in Euro 2012 Group B action.
World champions Spain went into the Group B opener as warm favourites, but were met by an Italian side who were every bit as dangerous as their feted opponents going forward in front of over 40,000 fans.
Italy went ahead on 60 minutes when Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale bounded onto a pass from Andrea Pirlo to lift the ball over Iker Casillas before Spain equalised courtesy of Cesc Fabregas four minutes later.
The Barcelona midfielder evaded the attentions of Emanuele Ciaccherini to slip the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon in levelling at 1-1, but there was still plenty of time for Chelsea forward Torres to win it for Spain only to fail miserably.
In the second match, Croatia posted a comfortable 3-1 victory over Ireland.
The match started quickly, with a goal by Croatia at three minutes. Another goal by Ireland levelled the score at 19 minutes, when Sean St Ledger leapt and headed home a free kick from Aiden McGeady.
After that, the Croatians took control, providing a lesson in possession football as they added two goals, in the 42nd and 48th minutes, and ran off with the victory.
Monday night's first match at 11pm Thailand time pits England against France in their first game of the tournament. Sweden face the home team Ukraine in the later match.