Euro 2024 PREVIEW | Italy v Spain

Matchday two in Group B at Euro 2024 throws up one of the most eagerly awaited encounters of the group stage, as Italy takes on Spain in Gelsenkirchen.

Both countries got their campaigns off to winning starts with the Azzurri claiming a narrow 2-1 win over Albania, whilst Spain dismantled Croatia 3-0.

Both countries know that a win tonight would guarantee their place in the knockout phase. Wednesday afternoon’s 2-2 draw between Albania and Croatia, means that even a draw may be enough for both to progress.

This latest showdown between the two, is the fifth consecutive time that they have locked horns at the European Championships, their last meeting being the epic semi-final at Euro 2020, which the Italians finally won after a penalty shoot-out.

The two countries have met 36 times in total, Spain narrowly edging it 14 victories to ten with the rest ending in parity. In the last two encounters, the Spanish have run out narrow 2-1 winners.

The Italians are unbeaten in their last five outings having conceded just twice, whilst Spain have won their previous three, scoring 13 goals in the process.

Results from their last five matches across all competitions

Italy W W D W W

Spain L D W W W

Team News

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti is expected to name an unchanged side and looks set to put his trust in mis-firing striker Gianluca Scamacca. Inter midfielder, Nicolo Barella, following his outstanding display against Albania, should continue to anchor midfield alongside Jorginho. The Azzurri’s new central defensive partnership, Alessandro Bastoni and Riccardo Calafiori, will expect to be tested to the maximum in Gelsenkirchen.

Spain are also expected to be unchanged, with coach Luis De La Fuente set to keep faith with the XI that put Croatia to the sword. Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata is well known to Italians, following his two-year stint at Juventus as is midfielder Fabian Ruiz, who helped steer Napoli to the Scudetto in 2023. Both players were on target in their opening game in Berlin.

Predicted XI’s

Italy (4-2-3-1) Donnarumma; Di Lorenzo, Calafiori, Bastoni, Dimarco; Jorginho, Barella; Frattesi, Pellegrini, Chiesa; Scamacca

Spain (4-2-3-1) Unai Simon; Cucurella, Nacho, Le Normand, Carvajal; Fabian Ruiz, Rodri; Nico Williams, Pedri, Yamal

 

Steve Mitchell | GIFN

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