Euro 2016 daily five: Azzurri and Antonio Conte can do no wrong, Spain have a true nine

The National Sports staff collates some of the best of our Euro 2016 content from the last 24 hours.

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With Day 7 of Euro 2016 in the books, we have collated some of the best of our content from the last 24 hours in one place. All the latests news, plus group guides, kick-off times and news from around the teams can be found at our special microsite.

1 – Golden touch

Italy arrived at Euro 2016 with one of their least-fancied sides at a major tournament, maybe ever. But they have showed a steely resolve in the back, opportunistic attacking nous and have, in their two contests so far, now taken six points. Their 1-0 win over Sweden on Friday night was less convincing than their 2-0 win over Belgium in their opener, but it nonetheless featured the unifying theme of the Italian run so far: Antonio Conte’s masterful hand.

Read Richard Jolly on the Chelsea-bound manager's work at Euro 2016 thus far:

“He feels blessed with a golden touch right now. If the manager is match-winner, it is just as well. Italy have few others, but they are making a comparative paucity of talent go a long way. They are into the last 16, very probably as group winners.”

2 – True nine

Spain were the toast of Euro 2012 with tiki-taka and the "false nine". The Spanish, writes Ian Hawkey, "would often line up with six men answering the description of 'midfielder' switching around the duty of leading the forward line".

It led them to the title. It earned them world renown. It is the past.

Spain’s current fortunes appear, after two matches, to rely this time on a more traditional approach. Centre forward Alvaro Morata plays as such, and his double against Turkey underscored how his potency is the key to unlocking Spain’s best at this tournament:

“Morata’s was the first double of the event so far, and a signal that, in the 23-year-old striker, Spain, the title-holders, have a potent, intelligent centre-forward to fill a vacancy that has been advertised for most of the last four or five years.”

3 – Drama flares

Croatia looked to be cruising after Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic put them 2-0 up in the second half. Then things collapsed, both on and off and, well, also still on the pitch.

Milan Skoda clawed one back for the Czech Republic on 76 minutes, and soon after a subsection of Croatian fans saw it their duty to help the team by interrupting play with a hailstorm of flairs thrown onto the pitch.

On 89 minutes Tomas Necid connected on a penalty to give the Czechs a 2-2 result.

But more than that, Croatia coach Ante Cacic made it known he was chiefly unhappy with the flare-tossing:

“We are talking about a small group of fans, I hope we can identify and find them.

“These people are really scary, these are terrorists, they are not fans.”

4 – Just the ticket

Andy Mitten files his daily diary, which touches on how the touts are suffering – and supporters benefiting – from a deflated secondary ticket market in France:

“ ‘A fear of terrorism, a weaker European economy than 10 years ago and it’s not got the allure of the World Cup,’ explained one tout at Lyon. ‘Plus, there are a lot of games in stadiums with increased capacities and the tickets are already expensive.’

“Every game this writer has attended has seen tickets outside for face value or less.”

5 – Hot seat

Ahead of Belgium's second match, on the heels of their disappointing 2-0 opening loss to Italy, Ian Hawkey notes the heat is already on coach Marc Wilmots:

“Patience with how long it will take this group of Belgian players, who share such a concentration of club medals and elite club contracts, to wow international football is wearing thin after a World Cup in which they left at the quarter-final stage.

" 'The Wilmots charm has run out,' the newspaper La Deniere Heure said."

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