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Played
June 10, 2012 12:00 PM EDT
PGE Arena Gdańsk — Gdańsk
Referee:‬ V. Kassai‎
Attendance:‬ 38869‎
 

Euro 2012 Preview: Spain - Italy

The 2008 winner starts the defense of its title at the finals facing another European giant, but recent events have seemingly weakened Cesare Prandelli's side.

By Adam Scime

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

SPAIN

Casillas
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba
Xabi Alonso, Busquets
Silva, Xavi, Iniesta
Torres
ITALY

Buffon
Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini
Maggio, T. Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio, B'retti
Balotelli, Cassano

Spain will have to go through Euro 2012 without influential duo David Villa and Carles Puyol, who were ruled out of the competition before it started due to injury.

Therefore, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who has been inconsistent over the last 18 months, will likely be given the nod by coach Vicente del Bosque to start up front, although Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente is another option.

At the back, due to Puyol's absence, Sergio Ramos should slot in at center back with Alvaro Arbeloa at right back. Meanwhile, midfielder Cesc Fabregas may not be risked from the start after picking up a thigh problem in the Copa del Rey final but Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla will be hoping for a chance in more attacking roles.

Italy has more than its fair share of problems, with an investigation into a betting scandal resulting in Domenico Criscito being cut from the team, first-choice striker Giuseppe Rossi out of the tournament due to ligament damage and Andrea Barzagli being sidelined for the first two matches with a calf strain.

Defender Giorgio Chiellini missed the Azzurri's 3-0 friendly loss to Russia, but has claimed he is fully recovered and should start at the back. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi is likely to move into a three-man defense as Prandelli switches from a 4-3-1-2 to a 3-5-2 formation.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Federico Balzaretti will battle it out for a spot on the left of midfield but Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli are expected to continue their partnership up front.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Spain has an all-time record of W8 D11 L10 versus Italy, but seven of those victories have come in friendly matches.
  • La Furia Roja have won an impressive 41 of their last 45 competitive matches and 14 of them in a row.
  • On its to the title at Euro 2008, Spain beat the Azzurri in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw at the quarterfinal stage.

  • Goalkeeper Iker Casillas recently earned his 73rd clean sheet with Spain in a 2-0 friendly win over Serbia, surpassing the international record set by Netherlands' Edwin van der Sar.
  • Italy last faced Spain in a friendly in August 2011, winning 2-1 in Bari with goals from Riccardo Montolivo and Alberto Aquilani.
  • Cassano was the top-scorer for Italy during its qualifying campaign, scoring six goals.
  • The Italians have won only two of their last nine games at the European Championship, drawing five and losing the other two.

  • None of the players in Prandelli's squad have scored more than 10 goals for their country with Antonio Di Natale and Daniele De Rossi both at that mark.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
International Friendlies ‎(FR)‎ Mar 5, 2014 Spain 1 - Italy 0
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FIFA Confederations Cup ‎(FCC)‎ Jun 27, 2013 Spain 0 - Italy 0
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European Championship Qualification 2012 ‎(EC)‎ Jul 1, 2012 Spain 4 - Italy 0
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European Championship Qualification 2012 ‎(EC)‎ Jun 10, 2012 Spain 1 - Italy 1
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International Friendlies ‎(FR)‎ Aug 10, 2011 Italy 2 - Spain 1
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Last Five Matches
Spain
Mar 5, 2014Spain 1 - Italy 0FR
Nov 19, 2013South Africa 1 - Spain 0FR
Nov 16, 2013Equatorial Guinea 1 - Spain 2FR
Oct 15, 2013Spain 2 - Georgia 0WCQE
Oct 11, 2013Spain 2 - Belarus 1WCQE
Italy
Mar 5, 2014Spain 1 - Italy 0FR
Nov 18, 2013Italy 2 - Nigeria 2FR
Nov 15, 2013Italy 1 - Germany 1FR
Oct 15, 2013Italy 2 - Armenia 2WCQE
Oct 11, 2013Denmark 2 - Italy 2WCQE
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
15Sergio RamosDefender
17ArbeloaDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
3PiquéDefender
6Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
8XaviMidfielder
10Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
21David SilvaMidfielder
12Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
23Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
2Raúl Albiol Defender
5JuanfranMidfielder
-Javi MartínezMidfielder
20Santi CazorlaMidfielder
22Jesús Navas GonzálezMidfielder
11PedroStriker
-Fernando Torres
11NegredoStriker
13Juan MataStriker
19Fernando Llorente Striker
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Fernando Torres Fernando Torres
Striker
Chelsea
3 0
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
3 0
Mario Gomez Mario Gomez
Striker
Fiorentina
3 0
Mario Balotelli Mario Balotelli
Striker
Milan
3 0
Mario Mandzukic Mario Mandzukic
Striker
FC Bayern München
3 0