Italy VS Spain Prediction
Replay of the UEFA Euro 2012 final will play a decisive role for any further hopes of Italy and Spain when both southern nations will meet at “Stade de France” in French capital Paris. The same venue which will host the UEFA Euro 2016 final is main target for both teams here and either Spain will repeat the success from Kyiv, or Italy will take its sweet revenge for the heavy 0-4 defeat.
Italy and Spain have both lost their last group games which were preceded by two wins. Italy managed to retain the first position in Group E despite the defeat by Ireland since they secured the first position after the narrow success over Sweden, while Spain was replaced from Group D’s top by Croatia after the 1-2 loss against them, but however, Spain remains one of the biggest favorites in France, indeed!
Team News in the eve of Spain’s Euro 2016 fixture vs Italy
Spain arrived in France as one of the biggest favorites and that’s a decent choice, since we all remember who lifted the UEFA European Championship trophy in last two occasions. Everything started really well for “La Furia Roja” and after victories over Czech Republic (1:0) and Turkey (3:0), Vicente del Bosque’s men were in winning position against Croatia, when Alvaro Morata opened the score after netting its third goal at Euro 2016. Later on Spanish defense was captured twice by Croatia and slap from that defeat maybe came right on time, when we all counted for how long Spain were unbeaten at the Euros. Twelve years after their Euro 2004 defeat from hosts Portugal, Spain was once again slain on the continental scene and Sergio Ramos’ penalty miss surely contributed for that.
So Spain was pretty much between hammer and anvil as if they avoided facing against Portugal in the 1/8 finals, “La Furia Roja’s” second Group D position awarded them with an encounter against Group E winners and it’s pretty difficult to make conclusion which opposition should be considered for “the preferred one”. However, Vicente del Bosque must find a way to boost the spirit of his men cause that was one of the very few slips of “La Furia Roja” in the last years and we all observed what happened after their defeat by Netherlands in Brazil – another defeat, which virtually ruled them out from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Two years later Spain must stay focused and they’re prepared for one tough battle against the UEFA Euro 2012 vice-champions, who own really reasonable motives for chasing of their first win against Spain since one friendly match in August 2011. Actually Spain became Italian executors back at Euro 2008 when both nations met at the quarter-finals and without any goals for 120+ minutes, Spain of Luis Aragonés eliminated Italy of Roberto Donadoni on penalties. This shows the good omen when Spain meets Italy in the last two decades, as it comes to competitive games.
Vicente del Bosque may be tempted to make some rotations after the defeat from Croatia but this seems more presumably if we had different manager here, while the 65-year-old Spaniard is not known as a coach who likes to rotate a lot. In a fact del Bosque is the only manager at Euro 2016 who hasn’t made any change in all three group games and he sticks to the same lineup. Obviously one good reason why we don’t expect any changes by pragmatist like Vicente del Bosque.
Even if we consider that David de Gea had pretty disappointing evening when facing Croatia, we don’t believe that del Bosque is willing to name his captain Iker Casillas on goal, since he had wholly dreadful season in Porto.
Team News in the eve of Italy’s Euro 2016 fixture vs Spain
Italy comes after that experimental late defeat by Republic of Ireland and this was their first defeat at European Championship finals against different opposition than Spain since the 0-3 by Netherlands back at Euro 2008. Thereafter Italy was eliminated twice by Spain and we should highlight that except the 0-4 in the UEFA Euro 2012 final, Italy was a tricky opponent for Spain, but obviously lucky for them. The defeat at Euro 2008 came after penalty shootouts while before the final in Kyiv four years later, Italy challenged the reigning champions in the group phase where their meeting was in the opening round and it ended with a draw – 1:1.
Antonio Conte will be keen to close that painful chapter of Italian football history when “The Blues” are facing Spain and he looks as one of the most appropriate people for the job. Indeed, Conte is deeply engaged with Italy’s last meaningful win against Spain which was twenty-two years ago, back at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. Both nations met in the quarter-finals where Italy with Antonio Conte in the starting lineup eliminated Spain after first half goal by Dino Baggio and late winner by Roberto Baggio. The 2-1 win at “Foxboro Stadium” was inspired by the above mentioned Roberto Donadoni, who already had his chance to repeat the same success at Euro 2008, but he failed. Eight years later Antonio Conte will be another Italian coach who has golden opportunity to end that run and after the 1:1 draw between both sides in March, this time Italy will try to repeat that result from 10 August 2011 when Italy won with 2:1 at “Stadio Comunale San Nicola” in Bari.
Italy returns at “Stade de France” where they have some history coming from the last big competition hosted by France – the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Italy were once again with the role of vice-champion when they won against Austria in a group stage game, before losing from France (on penalties) in the quarter-finals. So this opens some contradictory memories for the Italians, but their Euro 2016 inspiration should be on completely different fashion and the 2:0 win against Belgium will be used as a strong point why Italy shouldn’t be underestimated at any price.
Antonio Conte rested big part of his first team players in the defeat from Ireland and even before the game was already in its day, Italy were already thinking for the upcoming 1/8 final against Spain, since they became one from the first teams which booked their Euro 2016 knockout phase position. Moreover, the first position which makes their group phase efficiency even more impressive.
UEFA Euro 2016: Italy vs Spain – Possible squads and tip
Both managers can be pleased from lack of serious concerns in both squads and except Antonio Candreva’s hamstring injury, who remains doubtful, all other footballers are set for the most intriguing 1/8 final game at Euro 2016.
Italy holds its main strength in the 3-5-2 formation with legendary captain Gianluigi Buffon on the goal, defended by his Juventus teammates Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. Chiellini was one from the key players who sat on the bench against Italy, where also were Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Emanuele Giaccherini, Marco Parolo, Eder and Graziano Pellè, all of who are expected to start against Spain in Monday night.
Spain looks quite predictable and Antonio Conte surely knows that, so the 46-year-old Italian coach can be contented by the fresh squad he has, so he surely kept some of the acec in the pocket of his suit.
Vicente del Bosque has difficult task if he wants to break tight Italian defense, like he did four years ago, but this time players like Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Fernando Torres and David Villa are not available, not even Juan Mata who scored fourth goal in Buffon’s net in the Euro 2012 final. David Silva, Nolito and striker of Juventus Alvaro Morata form the new attacking line of Spain while Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas will have to secure victory in midfield, something which may lead to significant consequences for potential success after the final whistle.
Both players who were goal scorers for Italy and Spain in their latest friendly meeting (Lorenzo Insigne and Aritz Aduriz respectively) are expected to stay on the bench and new faces will have to find a way to settle on the score sheet.
Final conclusion and betting prediction
In our opinion Italians have proved they’re getting stronger and that Buffon is true leader of all outfield players ahead, mostly of the trio which stays close to him. Exactly that trio which may play crucial role for positive result of “The Azzurri” and we expect some difficult moments for Nolito/Silva/Morata.
Spain felt some real pressure only in the closing minutes against the Czechs and against Croatia, when we saw that “La Furia Roja” aren’t so convincing. Now they must be more focused and undoubtedly their last defeat will be a breaking point – they’ll show us completely different display and potentially reaching the quarter-finals, while the other choice can lead them into a black hole. This can mean that it’s time for changes on board and Vicente del Bosque already looks exhausted in ideas. His football philosophy looks predictable as much as his starting lineup and this opens another chance for Italy, in particular to Antonio Conte.
We find good value in the proposed odds for “Asian Handicap +0.5” (Double Chance) on Italy and we believe that “Azzurri” won’t lose here, well, at least in the regular time.
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır from Turkey.
Assistant referees and fourth official: Bahattin Duran, Tarik Ongun (Turkey) and Martin Atkinson (England).
Venue: “Stade de France”, Saint-Denis, Paris.
Possible starting squads of Italy and Spain
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon (c) – Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli – Alessandro Florenzi, Emanuele Giaccherini, Daniele De Rossi, Marco Parolo, Antonio Candreva – Eder, Graziano Pelle. (3-5-2)
Spain: David de Gea – Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos (c), Juanfran – Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas – Nolito, David Silva, Alvaro Morata. (4-3-3)