Italy vs Spain by Jimeno
Italy did well in first two group games and have secured the first position already after these games, with victories over Belgium 2:0 and Sweden 1:0. They were able to rest several players in the third round, so everyone is fresh for tonight's game, while the team won't be too disappointed with a narrow loss to Republic of Ireland in the third round.
They didn't actually impress that much in the second round against Swedish side, being only able to reach the victory in last moments. However, it's a side that never can be written off. They impressed against Belgium in the first round with great defending and solid effectiveness, while the team somehow failed to show more of the same in next two rounds, especially in the last one against Irish side.
Italians should be playing in 3-5-2 formation with Eder and Pelle as their strikers. Midfielder Antonio Candreva missed the previous group game because of a hamstring injury in their victory over Sweden. He remains doubtful for this one and his loss could be kind of a blow for Conte's side.
Thanks to a bit unexpected defeat to Croatia in the third round of the group stage, Spain have given themselves the hardest possible route to EURO finals, since the team needs to play against Italy already in the last sixteen phase. In case they get a victory here, they will be playing against Germany that easily sealed qualification last night with a 3:0 victory over Slovakia.
They started the group stage a bit slowly with a narrow 1:0 victory over Czech Republic, but improved against Turks in a 3:0 victory, however even though the team needed a point only in order to secure the first position, they suffered 2:1 defeat to Croats, in a game where they actually could have benefited from a bit more luck as well.
Spaniards are set to play in their usual 4-4-3 formation with Silva, Morata and Nolito as forwards. Vicente Del Bosque was the only manager to name unchanged squad in all three group matches and it would be a surprise to see him making changes now.
- Spain are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 matches against Italy.
Spain has great recent record playing against Italy, with most notably winning against them 4:0 in the finals four years ago. I expect much better performance from the Spaniards tonight, while the Italian attack doesn't seem to be at the greatest level, especially when playing against sides like Spain.