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Friendly International: Italy vs Spain preview

Kick-off: Thursday, 24 March @19:45 GMT

Venue: Stadio Communale Friuli (Udine)

Live Stream: fuboTV (US), bet365 (non-US)

Head to head record

Spain vs Italy 1-0 (2014 Friendly International)
Spain vs Italy 0-0 (2013 Confederations Cup)
Spain vs Italy 4-0 (Euro 2012)
Spain vs Italy 1-1 (Euro 2012)
Italy vs Spain 2-1 (2011 Friendly International)

Italy vs Spain prediction

Stadio Communale Friuli will host Thursday’s friendly between Italy and Spain. There will be fireworks when the two European giants take on each other in Udine and it remains to be seen who will have a reason for celebration.

No Pirlo, no De Rossi

Italy booked their place at the 2016 European Championship finals without any difficulties, with the team finish their qualifying campaign in top position in Group H. The Azzurri failed to impress at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and they will give their best to make amends for the unsuccessful campaign at the tournament in France. Coach Antonio Conte is unlikely to count on Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi for Euro 2016 finals and many people believe that the duo will be sorely missed in days to come. Italy played out a 2-2 draw with Romania in their last international friendly and they certainly face an uphill task in Thursday’s game against Spain. Southampton attacker Graziano Pelle is likely to lead the line for the hosts against La Roja.

Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi have been left out of the squad, while PSG midfielder Marco Verratti is rated doubtful. Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini misses the match with injury, but Napoli midfielder Jorginho and Fiorentina winger Federico Bernardeschi made the Italy squad for the first time ever. Thiago Motta has been recalled to the squad.

Seven consecutive wins

Spain national team have been producing thrilling performances on the international stage ever since they suffered a 2-0 loss to Netherlands in a friendly in March, 2015. La Roja are on a seven-game winning run in all competitions and they kicked off their preparations for the 2016 European Championship finals with a win over England. Vicente del Bosque’s men want to prepare in the best possible way for the showpiece tournament in France as they are on a quest to defend the trophy they won four years ago. The experienced tactician has a number of high-profile players to choose from, but he will not count on Chelsea attacker Diego Costa for the Italy game. In Costa’s absence, Valencia attacker Paco Alcacer is likely to be deployed up front as a lone striker.

Athletic Bilbao Aritz Aduriz has received a surprising call-up, while Sergi Roberto of Barcelona could make his Spain debut against Italy. Diego Costa has been omitted, while Celta Vigo winger Nolito has overcome his long-term injury and he is likely to play some part in Thursday’s clash. The likes of Andres Iniesta and Carvajal have both been omitted.

Quick Facts

  • Italy failed to keep a clean sheet in previous four games
  • Azurri are after their first win over Spain since 2011
  • Spain managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last three away fixtures
  • La Roja are undefeated in previous four meetings with Italy
  • Vicente del Bosque’s men conceded their last goal on 11 June, 2015, against Costa Rica

Italy vs Spain betting tip

Seeing that Italy and Spain take on each other in Udine on Thursday evening, there is every chance we will see a close encounter this time out. La Roja head into the game without key attacker Diego Costa and seeing that Andres Iniesta misses the match as well, I would not be surprised if the visitors fail to score in the upcoming warm-up game. On the other hand, Spain were impressive at the back in the Euro 2016 qualifiers and I am tempted to put my money on under 2.5 goals.

Tip: Under 2.5 goals

Odds: 1.57 (4/7) @Betfair

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