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Friendlies

  • August 10, 2011
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stadio Comunale San Nicola, Bari
  • Referee: F. Brych
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FT
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International friendly preview: Italy - Spain

The 2006 World Cup winners host the 2010 champions in a mouth-watering clash in Bari on Wednesday, in what is probably the midweek calendar's most glamorous game of all.


PROBABLE LINEUPS
Italy (4-3-1-2)

Buffon; Maggio, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito; Montolivo, De Rossi, Pirlo; Aquilani; Cassano, Rossi

Italy


Italy coach Cesare Prandelli looks set to name a strong lineup for Wednesday's prestigious friendly against World Champion Spain in Bari. Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who looks certain to leave Anfield this month on a permanent deal, should play in an advanced role behind strikers Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi, with Andrea Pirlo and Riccardo Montolivo pulling the strings in midfield.

Spain (4-3-3)

Casillas; Iraola, Pique, Albiol, Arbeloa; Thiago/Cazorla, Xabi Alonso, Busquets; Iniesta, Torres, Villa

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is without talisman Xavi, who pulled out of the squad earlier this week, and center back Carles Puyol, who is still working his way back from a knee injury. Del Bosque could therefore hand a debut to another Barcelona player, Thiago, who has looked impressive in preseason. Recent Malaga signing Santi Cazorla is another option in that role. Meanwhile, Real Madrid's Raul Albiol is set to take Puyol's place in what remains a strong side.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Italy lost 1-0 to Ivory Coast in Prandelli's first match in charge, but was then unbeaten for the next nine games before going down 2-0 to Ireland in a friendly earlier this summer.
  • With five wins and a draw so far, Italy is currently five points clear in its qualifying group for Euro 2012. Slovenia is second.
  • Andrea Pirlo is set to win his first cap as a Juventus player, after signing from AC Milan at the end of May. It will be his 75th cap in all.
  • Spain has called up Barcelona midfielder Thiago, who has been on fire in preseason. Thiago is eligible to play for Brazil through his parentage and also Italy, where he was born. The 20-year-old now looks set to make his Spain debut, however, in the city of his birth - Bari.
  • Recent recruits Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal look set to become the seventh and eighth Malaga players to represent Spain, respectively.
  • Real Madrid and Barcelona face each other in the first leg of the Supercopa on Sunday at the Santiago Bernabeu, so very few of their players are likely to be made to play 90 minutes in this match.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Italy

Spain

Wins
1
1
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Italy ITA
Italy Italy
Draw
Spain ESP
Spain Spain
42%
46%

Top 3 Predictions

Italy ITA
2 - 1
Spain ESP
Italy ITA
1 - 2
Spain ESP
Italy ITA
0 - 2
Spain ESP

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