Preview: Spain vs Italy – Team News, Lineups & Prediction

Thursday is the day of reckoning in Euro 2024 ‘group of death’ as Spain and Italy square off at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. After a victorious start to Group B, both sides head into proceedings knowing a win would qualify them for the knockout stages with a game to spare.

Spain delivered a stunning first-half performance in their curtain-raising fixture against perennial overachievers Croatia. First-half goals from Alvaro Morata, Fabian Ruiz, and Dani Carvajal inspired La Furia Roja to a landslide 3-0 victory in Berlin.

Despite being handed a late penalty, shell-shocked Croatia couldn’t find a consolation goal. Unai Simon thwarted Bruno Petkovic’s attempt from the spot, inspiring Luis de la Fuente’s side to a perfect start to their eighth consecutive appearance at the Euro finals.

On the other hand, Italy couldn’t have begun their title defense on a more stressful note. Sassuolo’s Nedim Bajrami scored the earliest goal in Euros history to put Albania in front only 23 seconds into their opening Euro 2024 outing.

However, Italy launched a quick turnaround through Inter duo Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella to take the lead by the 16th minute. Luciano Spalletti’s team failed to kill the game off and had to survive a late scare to get three points on the board.

Yet, after a winning start to their eighth successive appearance at the finals, the Italians are close to reaching the knockouts for the fifth time on the trot. Fending off revenge-driven Spain would probably do the trick, but that’s easier said than done.

Match Preview


Spain’s blistering start to their Euro 2024 journey was no major surprise. De La Fuente’s troops charged through their qualifying campaign with vigor (W7, L1), averaging 3.12 goals per game. Dominant qualification didn’t whet their appetite as the Spaniards demolished Andorra and Northern Ireland via a combined score of 10-1 in the build-up to the tournament.

Buoyed by a three-game winning streak accompanied by an intimidating +12 goal difference, Spain will touch down at Veltins Arena determined to settle the account with Italy. Indeed, the Italians were Spain’s scourge at the last two European Championships finals, most recently ending their title charge in 2021 in the semi-finals.

Italy needed a penalty shootout to dispatch the Iberian heavyweights three summers ago. The game ended level in regulation, which has been the case in four of the seven previous meetings between these two teams at the tournament.

Player to Watch: Lamine Yamal

How often do you see a 16-year-old leading the line for a team of Spain’s stature at a major tournament? The Barcelona whizz-kid is a unique talent and will require special attention from the Italian defenders on Thursday.


Italy can take the mantle from Spain this summer and become only the second nation in European football history to win back-to-back Euros. It would have to come at long odds, yet beating La Furia Roja seems like a perfect place to start.

A 2-1 comeback triumph against Albania gives Spalletti a chance to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Roberto Mancini, who inspired Italy to maximum points in the group back at Euro 2020. Gli Azzurri are seemingly well-positioned to pursue another faultless group-stage campaign.

Unbeaten in their last seven internationals (W5, D2), Italy must show resilience at the back to increase their chances of upsetting the apple cart in Gelsenkirchen. That’s because Spalletti’s frontlines have netted two or fewer goals in seven of their last eight internationals.

Player to Watch: Federico Chiesa

While the Juventus ace failed to get on the board against Albania, he has had his hand in goals in three of his last five appearances for club and country. That’s not to mention he scored against Spain at Euro 2020.

Team News

Spain suffered an injury scare against Croatia as Morata withdrew midway through the second half after picking up a knock. However, the wantaway Atletico Madrid forward will make the starting XI, having returned to full training on Tuesday.

As for Italy, Spalletti gambled with a left-footed center-back duo against the Albanians, but Alessandro Bastoni and Riccardo Calafiori passed the test with flying colors. The ex-Napoli manager will probably field the same lineup against Spain.

Spain vs Italy Potential Lineups

Spain (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Dani Carvajal, Robin Le Normand, Nacho Fernandez, Marc Cucurella; Pedri, Rodri, Fabian Ruiz; Lamine Yamal, Alvaro Morata, Nico Williams.

Italy (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Alessandro Bastoni, Riccardo Calafiori, Federico Dimarco; Jorginho, Nicolo Barella; Davide Frattesi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Federico Chiesa; Gianluca Scamacca.

Spain vs Italy Prediction

Now meeting for the fifth straight Euros, Spain and Italy know each other all too well. Stalemates have been common in their previous encounters at the tournament, leading us to believe another share of the spoils could be in store.

Prediction: Draw

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