Italy meet Spain at the Stade de France in what is decidedly the biggest clash of the Euros so far. Their last meeting four years ago in the final of this very tournament ended with an elegant Spanish side giving Italy a lesson in football.
Since then however both sides have seen many changes. The present Italy side does not revolve around Mario Balotelli, who was the protagonist of Italy’s last Euro campaign four years ago. Conte has gone back to Italy’s orthodox style of football centred around a strong defence after the disastrous failure of Prandelli’s flamboyant style of attacking football in the last World Cup.
Italy – Team News
Italy’s attacking midfielder Antonio Candreva will miss the tie with a thigh injury he picked up against Sweden (via ESPNFC). The pitch conditions in Marseille against Sweden were far from desirable and many of Italy’s players struggled on the pitch. Fiorentina winger Federico Bernardeschi was rested on Saturday but will be available for Sunday’s game in Saint Denis.
Conte might tweak his 3-5-2 formation to a wider 3-4-3 formation according to reports. Florenzi will be set to fill in for Candreva on the right side of midfield. Giaccherini could find himself on the far right of an attacking trident with Pelle in the centre and Eder on the left. Parolo and De Rossi are expected to start in midfield with Darmian switching over to the left side.
Thiago Motta, who will come on as a substitute if he doesn’t start will have to be very cautious along with Chielini, Bonucci and Eder all of whom have yellow cards and are in danger of missing the quarter-final tie against Germany.
Spain – Team News
Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos is the only Spaniard who is carrying a yellow card and is in danger of missing the clash against Germany should they progress. Despite coming from a heavy defeat against Croatia, Spain will take the pitch as favourites and will look to their Turin-based striker Morata for goals.
Alcantara might be hopeful of getting a starting slot ahead of Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas. Barcelona duo Busquets and Iniesta will also start in midfield. Spain hasn’t changed their starting lineup even once this tournament. Nolito will start in attack alongside Morata and David Silva. De Gea will marshall the sticks with Juanfran, Pique, Ramos and Jordi Alba ahead of him.