Venue: Wembley Stadium, England
Kick-off: 00.30 IST
FIFA World Rankings: Spain 6 | Italy 7
Head-to-Head: 33 matches - Spain - 12 | Italy 9
La Roja have a marginal advantage over the Azzurri as far as the head-to-head record is concerned. Italy have managed nine victories while Spain have managed 12 with the other 12 games ending in stalemates.
The previous meeting between the two European heavyweights took place in 2017 and ended in a comfortable 3-0 victory for Spain.
2-2 (90) + Extra time + Penalties
Sony LIV | Jio TV
Italy (4-3-3, left to right): Gigi Donnarumma-GK — Emerson Palmieri, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Giovanni Di Lorenzo — Marco Verratti, Jorginho, Nicolo Barella — Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Federico Chiesa
Spain (4-3-3, left to right): Unai Simon-GK — Jordi Alba, Eric Garcia, Aymeric Laporte, Cesar Azpilicueta — Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Koke — Dani Olmo, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres
Goalkeeper - Gianluigi Donnarumma
Defenders - Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordi Alba, Giorgio Chiellini (Vice-captain)
Midfielders - Nicolo Barella, Jorginho, Ferran Torres, Lorenzo Insigne
Strikers - Alvaro Morata, Ciro Immobile (Captain)
What's the story?
In their absolute tiki-taka pomp, Spain swept Italy aside 4-0 in the final of UEFA EURO 2012, but the balance of power has shifted a little since. Italy eliminated La Roja with a 2-0 win in the 2016 round of 16 and come to Wembley having won each of their last 13 international matches, while also being unbeaten in 32 (W27 D5). Their dizzying pace and killer finishing proved too much for a talented Belgium team last time out.
Luis Enrique's Spain have been enigmatic to say the least; after group stage draws against Sweden and Poland, they beat Slovakia 5-0 to reach the last 16, where they scored five again, though it took extra time to finish off Croatia. A string of missed chances then allowed ten-man Switzerland to take them to penalties in the quarter-finals, but top-class opponents like Italy may yet bring out the best in them.
Spain’s strengths -
• Patient possession play
• Elite ball playing ability
• Unlocking opposition defences
Italy’s strengths -
• Counter pressing
• Technical midfield
• Natural goal-scorers (Insigne; Chiesa; Immobile)
• Solid defense + positioning
How can Italy exploit Spain
• Italy need to carry on their elite counter-press, if Spain beat this counter-press then they will look to dictate the game.
• Insigne drifting inside unmarked, allowing him to create or score
• This is how both goals were scored vs Belgium
How can Spain exploit Italy
• Olmo vs Lorenzo will be a key battle.
• Doku got the better of Lorenzo and for the first time we seen big cracks in Italy’s defence
• Spain need to keep Ferran Torres high as an outlet and let a midfielder cover him
Italy starting XI: Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Emerson Palmieri; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Immobile, Insigne
Italy bench: Sirigu, Meret, Locatelli, Belotti, Berardi, Pessina, Acerbi, Cristante, Bernardeschi, Bastoni, Florenzi, Toloi
Spain starting XI: Unai Simon; Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Laporte, Jordi Alba; Koke, Busquets, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Oyarzabal, Dani Olmo
Spain bench: De Gea, Sanchez, Diego Llorente, Pau Torres, Marcos Llorente, Morata, Gerard Moreno, Thiago Alcantara, Gaya, Rodri, Fabian Ruiz, Traore