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Confederations Cup

  • June 27, 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Estádio Governador Plácido Aderaldo Castelo, Fortaleza, Ceará
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 56083

Spain won 7 - 6 on penalties

Spain-Italy Preview: Balotelli out, Pirlo a doubt for Prandelli's side

Spain-Italy Preview: Balotelli out, Pirlo a doubt for Prandelli's side


Injury problems have made the Azzurri's task even more daunting against the world champions in a repeat of the European Championship final

Spain will be hoping for a repeat of their Euro 2012 final victory over a weakened Italy team when they meet at the Castelao in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

Vicente del Bosque is expected to select Iker Casillas to start in goal despite using all three goalkeepers already in the tournament. However, Roberto Soldado and Cesc Fabregas are doubts for the meeting after sitting out training on Monday. Fernando Torres is favourite to start ahead of the Valencia striker while Juan Mata and David Silva will be in contention to replace the Barcelona star.

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli is expected to use a three-man defence following injuries to Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate, neither of whom will feature again in the competition.

Alberto Gilardino will therefore start in attack while Daniele De Rossi returns from suspension, with Andrea Pirlo hopeful of starting the match despite an injury. Christian Maggio and Emanuele Giaccherini will begin the game as wing-backs, wide of an all-Juventus back line.

  • Spain secured back-to-back European Championship titles when they trounced Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012.
  • Fernando Torres (pictured, right) is currently the highest scoring player in the competition with five goals in three games.
  • La Roja are the tournament's most prolific team with 15 goals in three fixtures, though 10 of those came against minnows Tahiti.
  • Italy hold the upper hand in previous meetings between the two nations's with 10 wins to Spain's nine in their 31 previous meetings.
  • The Azzurri have already improved upon their performance in the 2009 edition of the Confederations Cup where they were eliminated in the group stage.
  • Italy have only defeated Spain once in their previous eight encounters. That triumph came August 2011 when goals from Riccardo Montolivo and Alberto Aquilani secured a 2-1 win.
  • Gianluigi Buffon will move to within four appearances of joining Fabio Cannavaro as the nation's highest-capped player with 136 outings.

Players to watch

Fernando Torres

Position: Attacker

Games: 4

  • 5
  • 0
  • 0
The Spaniard had dropped out of favour within the national team after struggling for form but a string of impressive performances in Brazil put him in line for a starting spot. The Chelsea striker is now just two goals away from overtaking Ronaldinho and Cuauhtemoc Blanco as the highest-scoring players in Confederations Cup with nine strikes each. He will be hungry for more goals against the Azzurri in order to help his team reach the final and stake his claim for a starting spot there.

A. Pirlo

Position: Midfielder

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
Having missed out on the encounter with Brazil through injury, the Juventus player is expected to feature on Thursday and his influence could prove invaluable. Italy will want the midfield metronome in the side in order to pick apart any spaces in the Spanish side with his sublime array of passing. Pirlo also provides a threat from set pieces, as he showed against Mexico earlier in the tournament, and so Azzurri fans will be praying that the veteran is declared fit for the meeting.

Editor's Prediction

In a repeat of the Euro 2012 final, Italy will be without some key players as they look to avenge last summer's defeat in Kiev. The Azzurri lost their previous game against hosts Brazil 4-2 and will be without Mario Balotelli as they look for an improved performance against Spain. However, Cesare Prandelli is expected to switch to a three-man defence which earned his team a 1-1 draw in the group stages of Euro 2012. They will need to press Spain with great intensity if they are to pick up the win, but la Roja will be confident that they have the extra quality to secure safe passage to the final.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head




Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Spain ESP
Spain Spain
Italy ITA
Italy Italy

Top 3 Predictions

Spain ESP
3 - 1
Italy ITA
Spain ESP
2 - 1
Italy ITA
Spain ESP
1 - 2
Italy ITA