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Spain vs Italy predictions: Direct Spain can outscore defending champions
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Dan Sait
Luis de la Fuente will be eager to build on the fine 3-0 win over Croatia in Spain's opener
Luis de la Fuente will be eager to build on the fine 3-0 win over Croatia in Spain's opener

- Spain are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Italy (penalty shootouts excluded)
- Italy have lost to England (twice), Germany and Spain in competitive games in the past year
- Recommended bet: Spain to win and over 2.5 goals

Spain and Italy will each be delighted to have kicked off their Euro 2024 campaigns with a win, but both teams displayed weaknesses that Thursday's opponents will be looking to exploit.

Victory here should secure top spot, but with either route out of Group B containing pitfalls in the knockout stages and both already highly likely to progress, this could be one of the less cagey meetings between tournament big-hitters.

Team news

Spanish pair Rodri and Alvaro Morata were both forced off against Croatia but manager Luis de la Fuente insists both substitutions were merely precautionary and that both players will return.

Aymeric Laporte looks to have recovered from a muscle injury but is not expected to be rushed back in, with Nacho retaining his place at centre-back.

Italy midfielder Nicolo Fagioli should come back into contention after missing the Albania match with a minor injury to his leg.

The stats

Holders Italy won all three group stage games en route to the title in 2021.

The Azzurri won only one of their four knockout-round matches in normal time against tougher opponents – including a penalty shootout win over Spain.

Spain's victory over Croatia on Saturday was the first time in 137 games that they did not complete as many passes as their opponent – a run stretching back to 2008.

Luciano Spalletti saw his side come from  behind to beat Albania on Saturday
Luciano Spalletti saw his side come from behind to beat Albania on Saturday


Spain's 3-0 defeat of Croatia was far more eye-catching than Italy's come-from-behind 2-1 victory over minnows Albania, but the scorelines do not tell the whole story of either match.

Spain were impressive in attack, where they produced one of the most fluent displays of the first round of matches, but their defence offered up numerous chances to a wasteful Croatia side. Indeed, Croatia actually had a higher expected goal tally than Spain in that match.

Nor was Italy's narrow victory over Albania quite as nervy as it looks on paper. The Azzurri fell behind early thanks to a daft error – Federico Dimarco throwing the ball directly into the path of Albania's Nedim Bajrami – but from then on Italy utterly dominated and should have won by a more comfortable margin.

Both teams are in transition, with Spain adopting a far more direct approach and Italy adapting to a new head coach and moulding a new defence that bears little relation to the one who led them to Euro 2020 glory.

But, despite offering less control and allowing opponents more chances to hit them on the break, the Spanish look the more dangerous side and should edge an entertaining heavyweight clash.

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