Defending European champion Spain takes on 2012 runner-up Italy in what should be a hotly contested match.
Who will come out on top? Who should you bet on? Find out as we cover Spain vs Italy in the Euro Cup 2016.
Italy vs Spain (12:00pm EST at June 27)
Spain -0.5 (+105)
Italy +0.5 (-133)
Italy vs Spain Overview
Spain did not excel in the group stage the way they expected to. After easily winning their first two matches, they suffered a 2-1 loss to Croatia in their final contest. It’s hard to know what Spain is capable of moving forward because their performances range from potential champion to a team that might not show up.
The good news for coach Vicente del Bosque is that he has a week to get the players ready to come back strong. It also doesn’t hurt that Spain had six days of rest to get refocused for their match with Italy.
As for the Italians, their squad isn’t as good as in past years, and some expected them to falter in group play. Nevertheless, Italy notched three wins – including a 2-0 victory over Belgium – and didn’t allow a goal in all three group matches.
Coach Antonio Conte has done a good job of hiding his team’s faults while instilling mental toughness in the squad. They looked fantastic in group play; the only problem is that their perfect record drew one of the toughest lower seeds that you could ask for.
Iniesta was a huge catalyst in Spain’s victories over Sweden and Belgium. And if he can do as good of a job at powering Spain’s attack against Italy, then his team has an excellent chance to win.
But the problem is that the Italians give very few openings because they’re so tactically sound. Roma star De Rossi is one of the biggest reasons why Italy offers so few openings. If he uses his strength, experience and stamina to slow down Iniesta, then the Spaniards’ attack will slow down considerably.
As mentioned above, Italy has the discipline to avoid giving up many good chances to their opponents. This means that in the event that Spain controls the ball, they’ll still need to capitalize on the few good opportunities they get. This is where Alvarao Morata becomes so important because the striker has been the top scorer in the Euro thus far. If he can convert on 1-2 chances in this match, Spain should advance to the round of 8.
Italy’s Graziano Pelle comes in under the radar when compared to Morata. But the Southampton striker will be crucial for Italy’s scoring chances since he’s a good passer who also has the ability to create shots for himself. If Spain struggles at any point in the back, Pelle will make them pay.
Prediction on Italy vs Spain
Few expected Italy to walk out of group play with a perfect record, especially with tough Belgian and Swedish squads, and a scrappy Irish team in their pool. But the Italians were at an all-time high with their tactical, error-free play.
The problem with Italy, though, is that they don’t have the talent this year that they’ve shown in the past. Spain does have talent, and with almost a week to prepare and shake off the 2-1 loss to Croatia, we think that they’ll shut down the Italians and advance.
Final Score Prediction: Spain wins 1-0
Betting Advice: While we think that Spain will win, Italy is offering value on the moneyline at +320. If the Spaniards make a crucial mistake, Italy could just as easily win.