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
Buffon; Maggio, Ranocchia, Chiellini, Criscito; Montolivo, De Rossi, Pirlo; Aquilani; Cassano, Rossi
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli looks set to name a strong line-up for Wednesday's prestigious friendly against World Champions 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.
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 centre-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 pre-season. 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 were then unbeaten for their 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 are currently five points clear in their qualifying group for Euro 2012. Slovenia are second.
- Andrea Pirlo is set to win his first cap as a Juventus player, after signing from AC Milan at the end of May, and his 75th in all.
- Spain have called up Barcelona midfielder Thiago, who has been on fire in pre-season. 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.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for an exclusive bet £10 get £20 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Italy 2-1 Spain
- 17.28 %
Italy 1-2 Spain
- 12.12 %
Italy 0-2 Spain
- 11.22 %
|World - FIFA Confederations Cup (FCC)||Jun 27, 2013||Spain 0 - Italy 0|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jul 1, 2012||Spain 4 - Italy 0|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 10, 2012||Spain 1 - Italy 1|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 10, 2011||Italy 2 - Spain 1|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 22, 2008||Spain 4 - Italy 2|
|Nov 18, 2013||Italy 2 - Nigeria 2||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Italy 2 - Armenia 2||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Denmark 2 - Italy 2||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Italy 2 - Czech Rep. 1||WCQ|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|6||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
Giuseppe Rossi was a sensation for Spain last season, scoring 32 goals in a hugely prolific campaign with Villarreal. That form alerted the attention of Barcelona, as well as the big clubs in Italy, who will be taking a closer look in this match. An impressive performance could yet see the player move on, although Villarreal no longer need to sell following the departure of Santi Cazorla.
|Andoni Iraola Sagama|
With Sergio Ramos sidelined, this could be a fantastic opportunity for Andoni Iraola. The Athletic Bilbao right-back is one of the finest players in La Liga, but has had few opportunities at international level and will be hoping to really stake a claim for a regular spot with a positive performance in this clash.
Aside from the surprise defeat against Ireland in Liege earlier this summer, Italy have looked hard to beat under Cesare Prandelli and with home advantage on Wednesday, Spain are unlikely to have things all their own way. Many of La Roja's players have the distraction of the Barcelona-Real Madrid Supercopa clash on Sunday and will be keen to avoid injury in this match, so a draw could be the most likely outcome. And both sides would settle for that.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed