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Spain national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 20, 2024 at 8pm UK
VELTINS-Arena
Italy national football team

Spain
1 - 0
Italy

Calafiori (55' og.)
Rodri (45+1'), Le Normand (69'), Carvajal (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Donnarumma (15'), Cristante (46')

Preview: Spain vs. Italy - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's European Championship clash between Spain and Italy, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

HALF-TIME UPDATE: SPAIN 0-0 ITALY

Spain's Nico Williams in action with Italy's Federico Chiesa on June 20, 2024© Reuters

Spain picked up from where they left off in Saturday's 3-0 win over Croatia as they launched an onslaught in the opening 25 minutes in Gelsenkirchen.

Pedri, Nico Williams and Alvaro Morata all had chances to break the deadlock, before Paris Saint-Germain's Fabian Ruiz unleashed a thunderous long-range strike to draw a fingertip stop from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

La Roja were comfortably the best team on the pitch in the first period, but their failure to convert their dominance into an opening goal will frustrate Spain boss Luis de la Fuente.

As for Luciano Spalletti, he will know his team were fortunate to make it to the break unscathed, and they will need to offer a significant improvement if they are to have any hopes of winning this contest.

While an Italian response is to be expected, Spain will continue to offer a threat with Yamal and Williams in their ranks, and it would be a surprise if their relentless pressure does not result in a breakthrough sooner rather than later.

HALF-TIME PREDICTION: SPAIN 1-0 ITALY


Two heavyweights of European football step into the ring on Thursday evening, as Spain and Italy aim to secure a place in Euro 2024's knockout phase.

Both won their opening Group B fixture, so one more point should prove enough for the reigning champions and their Nations League nemesis to progress.


Match preview

Spain's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring their first goal on June 15, 2024© Reuters

When Spain coach Luis de la Fuente sent his side out at Berlin's Olympiastadion for their Euro 2024 opener, he could scarcely have dreamed they would return at half time with a three-goal lead over Croatia.

Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz and Dani Carvajal all scored before the break to start the campaign with a resounding success, as Morata made it into double figures at major tournaments and Carvajal became the oldest Spanish scorer at a Euros.

Having also fielded the competition's youngest player - 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, creator of La Roja's third goal - and seen Unai Simon save a spot kick, a composed performance suggests they could be challengers for the trophy this summer.

European champions in 1964, 2008 and 2012, Spain's hopes of adding a fourth continental crown to their collection are high, as they have now lost just one of 11 competitive games under De la Fuente, winning each of the last seven.

That represents their best run since 2017, and recent results against their next opponents in the so-called 'Group of Death' have been particularly positive.

La Roja beat Italy in successive UEFA Nations League semi-finals, going on to win last year's edition for good measure - but they have never before won three consecutive matches against their Italian rivals.

When the two teams meet in Gelsenkirchen, a point apiece may be enough to see both through to the last 16 - potentially allowing De la Fuente to rest key players against Albania - but plenty of pride will still be at stake.

Italy's Nicolo Barella celebrates scoring their second goal with Riccardo Calafiori and teammates on June 15, 2024© Reuters

While their Iberian counterparts have held the upper hand of late, Italy memorably overcame Spain on penalties three years ago, en route to Euro 2020 glory.

Since losing to La Roja in the Nations League last June, the new-look Azzurri have been beaten in only one of their next 12 matches - winning eight - and Luciano Spalletti has brought renewed vigour to a squad that had started to falter under Roberto Mancini.

However, Italy started the defence of their title in the worst possible fashion, before quickly recovering from an early blow in Saturday's Group B clash against Albania to take maximum points.

Sassuolo's Nedim Bajrami set a new Euros record for fastest goal ever - netting after just 23 seconds - but Spalletti's side soon bounced back: Alessandro Bastoni levelled the scores 10 minutes later, before his Inter Milan teammate Nicolo Barella put them ahead.

Now unbeaten in 10 games at the European Championship - with the first match of that run being a 2-0 win over Spain in 2016 - Italy's last defeat in the competition came against the Republic of Ireland eight years ago.

Though considered outsiders this summer, the Azzurri's ultimate ambition is to become just the second team to win successive Euros, following in the footsteps of Spain. First, though, they must make sure of progress to the knockout phase.

Spain European Championship form:


Spain form (all competitions):


Italy European Championship form:


Italy form (all competitions):



Team News

Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente on March 26, 2024© Reuters

Assuaging concerns about their fitness following last week's win over Croatia, both Rodri and Alvaro Morata have taken part in full training and will be available on Thursday.

However, Aymeric Laporte is still struggling with an adductor injury, after the France-born defender missed Spain's opening match entirely. He may now take a place on the bench, with Nacho and Robin Le Normand continuing at the centre of La Roja's back four.

Morata captains the side, having now scored 10 times in 15 major tournament appearances for Spain, with only David Villa (13) ahead of him.

In midfield, Fabian Ruiz will aim to build on being directly involved in two of the three goals against Croatia - assisting Morata's opener and scoring the second.

Holding off competition from David Raya, Unai Simon continues between the posts, though the Athletic Club goalkeeper will have to undergo a minor wrist operation after the Euros.

In fact, few changes - if any - are expected to Luis de la Fuente's lineup, with Dani Olmo and Alex Grimaldo fronting a long queue for promotion to the starting XI.

Meanwhile, Italy can also name an unaltered side in Gelsenkirchen, as all of their players were available for training after the victory over Albania.

Luciano Spalletti claims he is not tied down to a particular formation, but personnel changes would indicate a more cautious approach: Gianluca Mancini is a conservative centre-back by comparison with forward-raiding Riccardo Calafiori; Bryan Cristante could replace Roma teammate Lorenzo Pellegrini to tighten up the Azzurri's midfield.

Both Calafiori and Pellegrini are one yellow card away from suspension, too, but they still remain favourites to start.

One man certain to play is Nicolo Barella, who has now posted five goal involvements from his last seven Italy appearances. The Inter star will be looking to score in three consecutive internationals for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, up front, Genoa striker Mateo Retegui aims to displace recent Europa League winner Gianluca Scamacca, who endured a frustrating night in Dortmund.


Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon; Carvajal, Le Normand, Nacho, Cucurella; Pedri, Rodri, Ruiz; Yamal, Morata, Williams

Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Bastoni, Calafiori, Dimarco; Jorginho, Barella; Frattesi, Pellegrini, Chiesa; Scamacca


SM words green background

We say: Spain 2-1 Italy

This will be the 11th encounter between Spain and Italy at a major tournament - a record between two European nations.

Now meeting for the fifth straight Euros, they have been familiar foes in the Nations League too, and La Roja's run of success over the Azzurri could continue.

A more diverse attacking approach paid dividends against Croatia, while Italy's defence remains dubious, so it may be Spain celebrating safe passage to the last 16.



For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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Game History

How you voted: Spain vs Italy

Spain
60.6%
Draw
20.3%
Italy
19.1%
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Spain's Mikel Merino celebrates scoring their second goal on July 5, 2024
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121


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