Spain will be out for revenge on Wednesday as Luis Enrique’s men travel to San Siro for their Nations League semi-final against Italy. Roberto Mancini’s men are yet to lose a game nearly three months after their Euro 2020 semi-final triumph on penalties over La Roja, but their unbeaten record won’t be easy to maintain as the winner will have to face either France or Belgium.
Where and when: San Siro – 6 October, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Italy vs. Spain: Sky Sports
Last time: Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata were on target in the 1-1 draw after extra time at Euro 2020 back in July. Italy eventually went on to win 4-2 on penalties and reached the final, where they earned another penalty triumph over hosts England at Wembley.
Italy v Spain Predictions and Preview
Italy were undoubtedly the best side at Euro 2020, but if there was any team that put Roberto Mancini’s men to the sword, it was undoubtedly Spain. The semi-final that took place at Wembley saw Italy take the lead thanks to Federico Chiesa, but Alvaro Morata’s equaliser took the game to extra time.
Mancini’s side eventually won on penalties, but his men were on the back foot and were defending for their lives for the majority of the second half and extra time. This indeed was something new for the Italians, as putting aside some struggles against Austria, the Azzurri dominated their other games.
Italy are yet to suffer a defeat since then, as their 5-0 win over Lithuania in their last World Cup qualifier saw them reach a streak of 37 games without a defeat – an all-time record for international teams.
The Azzurri host the last stage of the UEFA Nations League, as both semi-finals, final and a game for third place will be played in Italy. Mancini’s men will need all the support they can get, as reigning world champions France and the number one team in the FIFA rankings, Belgium, complete the final four of the competition, so all games promise to be extremely unpredictable.
Roberto Mancini has called up pretty much the same players that won Euro 2020, with the only notable change being the inclusion of Lorenzo Pellegrini in expense of the injured Andrea Belotti. Pellegrini would’ve probably been included in Italy’s squad for the European championship, if not for an injury of his own back in June, but he might even be pushing for a start here after his impressive displays for Roma.
Luis Enrique, meanwhile, again made some surprising choices in his selection. The ex-Barcelona coach did not include any Real Madrid players in his squad once again, despite the heavy criticism that he received after Euro 2020. Barcelona’s 17-year-old midfielder Gavi and Villarreal’s 18-year-old winger Yeremi Pino have been among the biggest surprises in Enrique’s selection.
Spain’s biggest problems are in attack as Alvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno and Dani Olmo are all injured, which means that Ferran Torres might start as a false nine. In midfield, Pedri has recovered from his recent physical issues, so he is expected to start alongside Sergio Busquets and Koke.
Home advantage and Italy’s impeccable form mean that the Azzurri are slight 29/20 favourites with William Hill. The draw is available at 2/1, the same as Spain’s chances to emerge victorious in this Italy vs. Spain preview.
One to watch for Italy: Federico Chiesa has three goals in his last six appearances for Italy, including the opener against Spain in the Euro 2020 semi-final. All of these three strikes were the first goal in the respective games, while he also scored the only goal for Juventus in last week’s 1-0 win over Chelsea. The ex-Fiorentina winger is clearly the man in form for the Azzurri, so watch out for him in the first scorer market.
One to watch for Spain: With Alvaro Morata injured, Ferran Torres is expected to step in as a false nine for La Furia Roja. The Manchester City man has two goals in his last two appearances for his country, while he has also scored twice for the Citizens in the Premier League this term.
Long shot: Three of the last five meetings between these countries ended in 1-1 draws. A repeat of that result is available at 9/2, while if you are looking for bigger odds, you can pair this with Federico Chiesa and Ferran Torres to score the goals.