It pitted Andreas Pirlo up against Xavi in midfield, while Spain surprised onlookers by electing to play without a striker.
We shouldn't have been entirely shocked, Barcelona played similarly at the beginning of the season, except for one key difference, they had Lionel Messi.
When Spain did bring on an out and out striker, they left out Fernando Llorente, who scored 29 goals for Athletic Bilbao this season, and brought on Fernando Torres, who netted just eight for Chelsea. It didn't pay off.
Once again Torres looked to be lacking sharpness, and was unable to instantly settle into the game in the same way which Italy's goalscoring substitute Antonio di Natale did.
Spain fans would have hoped that in a national shirt he would have left his club woes behind, but he looked exactly the same off-key striker we have seen ever since signing for Chelsea.
Torres missed two simple chances, wrongly elected to try and round Gianluigi Buffon in Italy's goal when he should have shot, and scooping over the bar from 20 yards out when he should have laced it.
To top off a miserable showing he was booked for an elbow on Di Rossi, which a harsher refereee could have even pulled out a red card for.
He wasn't the only Premier League star to fluff his lines, the performance of Mario Balotelli was equally perplexing.
Booked in the first half, the Italy frontman wasted a glorious opening when one on one with Iker Casillas.
He was yards ahead of Sergio Ramos, yet took his time so casually that the defender caught up and robbed him of possession.
It seemed as though he was completely unaware of the defender chasing him, and his actions had the intensity of a friendly kickabout, not an important opened at a major international tournament.
He was hooked within minutes for Di Natale, who scored and will now be fancied to start Italy's next game against Croatia on Thursday.
Torres may too find that when Spain face Ireland, he is below Llorente in the pecking order after wasting his opportunity.
Who had the bigger 'mare?
Should either of them start in their countries' next games?
image: © nbabaian