Spain vs Italy by Isaiah
Spain isn't having really strong group to play in, however are drawn with a hell of a opponent Italy and in such situation, they can't be sure of securing the first position and direct placement as long as they don't secure it mathematically. They didn't have many difficult matches so far, starting the qualifiers with five victories and a draw, only drawing coming in away game against Italy back in October last year.
They looked bit better in that match and had the lead thanks to a goal from Vitolo in 55th minute, while the Italians leveled up from the penalty kick in 82nd via De Rossi. Now it's a chance for Spaniards to get the crucial victory, as they lead the table together with the Italians with sixteen points so far, seven more than Israel and Albania. In the most recent game, they managed to walk away with a 1:2 victory on the road against FYR Macedonia back in June, by taking the double lead after first thirty minutes with goals from Silva and Costa.
Defender Javi Martinez (18/0, Bayern Munich) won't be playing here in comparison to previous few call-ups, same as midfielder Juan Mata (41/10, Manchester United), forwards Vitolo (11/4, Las Palmas), Diego Costa (16/6, Chelsea), Nolito (16/6, Sevilla) and Paco Alcacer (13/6, Barcelona).
Same could be said for the Italians, as there are no real match-ups in the group except the Spaniards and it's just a matter whether the side will end up first or second. In the most recent game, they took an easy three pointer in front of own fans in Udine, winning 5:0 over Liechtenstein back in June this year. Goals were scored by Insigne, Belotti, Eder, Bernardeschi and Gabbiadini, as the Italians showed that many players can be dangerous, however the team now needs to step up and search for a positive result against the biggest opponent in the group.
It's almost sure that the Italians will be second in case they don't get a victory in Madrid, since the Spaniards have better goal difference and generally look very strong without much chances to make further setbacks later on against teams such as Liechstenstein, Albania and Israel till the end of the qualifying path.
Defenders Giorgio CHiellini (92/7, Juventus), Mattia De Sciglio (31/0, Juventus), Domenico Criscito (22/0, Zenit), midfielders Alessandro Florenzi (24/2, Roma), Clauidio Marchisio (55/5, Juventus), forwards Simone Zaza (16/1, Valencia) and Graziano Pelle (20/9, Shandong) weren't called up for this one out of more notable players.
First game was already quite intense and with lot's of fouls and eight yellow cards given. Now with the Italians being in need of a victory and a better result, I see the match being even more rough.