Spain vs Italy predictions and match preview for Thursday’s UEFA Nations League fixture. Read on for analysis ahead of this showdown in the Netherlands.
|Date||Thursday 15th June 2023|
|Stadium||De Grolsch Veste|
|Competition||UEFA Nations League Semi Final|
Spain vs Italy Preview
The UEFA Nations League has reached the Finals stage with the competition’s third ever winner set to be crowned this weekend. Spain face European champions Italy in the last four in Enschede hoping to cement a slot in Sunday’s showpiece in Rotterdam.
You’d be forgiven for having forgotten how we got to this point. Alvaro Morata’s 88th minute goal sealed a decisive 1-0 win for Spain in Portugal way back in September in their final Nations League group game to ensure La Roja topped the group. Plenty has happened since with a disappointing winter World Cup campaign which resulted in the departure of Luis Enrique.
His replacement, former U21 boss Luis de la Fuente, has had just two games in charge so far – a 3-0 win over Norway and surprise 2-0 defeat to Scotland. That result immediately puts a bit of pressure on the 61 year old who was not seen as the most inspiring appointment. This isn’t the most inspiring Spain squad either in truth with eight of the outfielders having turned 30 with veterans like Jesús Navas, Nacho and Jordi Alba all included in the travelling party for the Netherlands.
There are a couple of new faces with Real Madrid returnee Fran Garcia included for the first time after an impressive season at Rayo Vallecano while France-born Real Sociedad defender Robin Le Normand could also make his debut. Notable absentees include the injured Pedri who was so impressive in the Euro 2020 Semi-Final meeting with Italy while it’s questionable what state Rodri will be in after scoring the Champions League Final winner at the weekend and the wild celebrations that followed.
As for Italy, they are still under the guidance of Roberto Mancini who guided them to glory at the delayed Euros in 2021, only to fail to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. They’ve endured mixed fortunes of late too, winning a tough Nations League group which featured England and Germany but they have lost two of their last three internationals – a friendly against Austria and a Euro 2024 qualifier against England.
As Italy showed two summers ago, they do have the appetite for silverware and they’ve as good a shot as anyone in what feels like an open competition this week in the Netherlands. Mancini has named a pretty experienced squad with no major injury absentees and only one uncapped player which is back-up goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Score Prediction: Spain 1-2 Italy
Spain haven’t played since a miserable night in Glasgow in March saw them defeated by Scotland and this doesn’t really have the feel of a squad that has been invigorated by a sense of fresh direction which can often be the case after a major tournament when a new coach takes charge. Pedri’s absence is significant and with Rodri perhaps not in peak condition to play this game, it feels like Italy may just have the edge here.
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