The Barcelona star is set to lead the line for the World Cup winners in the opening match of Group C, with Vicente del Bosque adopting a 4-3-3 formation
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has dropped Fernando Torres and opted to play Cesc Fabregas in the false nine position in their opening match of Euro 2012 against Italy.
Torres, Alvaro Negredo, and Fernando Llorente have all had to settle for a place on the bench as the Roja boss opts to go for a 4-3-3 formation, with David Silva and Andres Iniesta supporting Fabregas from the flanks.
The midfield trio consists of Xavi, Sergio Busquets, and Xabi Alonso, while Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos partner each other in the center of defense, despite some speculation this week that Athletic Bilbao star Javi Martinez would be employed as a center back.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has decided to pack the midfield for the Azzurri tonight, with a 3-5-2 formation likely to squeeze the space in the middle of the park.
Daniele De Rossi has interestingly been selected in the centre of Italy’s back three, with an array of defensive injuries forcing Prandelli’s hand in to selecting the Roma man in a defensive position.
Emanuele Giaccherini is set to be handed his debut for his national side against Spain, while Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli lead the line up front for the 2006 World Cup winners.
Spain (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, Alba; Alonso, Busquets, Xavi; Iniesta, Silva, Fábregas
Subs: Valdes, Reina, Albiol, Martinez, Juanfran, Cazorla, Navas, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente.
Italy (3-5-2): Buffon; Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini; Maggio, Thiago Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio, Giaccherini; Cassano, Balotelli
Subs: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ogbonna, Balzaretti, Abate, Barzagli, Montolivo, Diamanti, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Giovinco.