Italy vs Spain: Clash of Styles in Euro 2024 Showdown

Italy manager Luciano Spalletti has promised his team will play with elegance and grit as they face Spain on Thursday, aiming to secure a spot in the Euro 2024 knockout stages. Both teams triumphed in their opening matches, albeit in contrasting fashions, setting the stage for a classic encounter in Gelsenkirchen.

Italy’s 2-1 comeback win over Albania, following the fastest goal in Euros history, showcased their resilience. Spalletti emphasized the importance of maintaining their identity and poise, likening their approach to wearing Giorgio Armani suits. “We will be there, well dressed but ready to get our clothes dirty if needed,” he stated.

Spalletti underscored the necessity of sustained excellence and concentration against Spain. “We will have to maintain the same level of intensity for 90 minutes, play quickly, if we don’t do that, they will hurt us,” he warned.

Having taken the helm after Roberto Mancini’s departure, Spalletti guided Napoli to a historic Serie A title last season. He acknowledges the significance of this match, calling it “one of the most important matches of my career.”

Meanwhile, Spain’s dominant 3-0 victory over Croatia contrasted with Italy’s hard-fought win. Spanish manager Luis de la Fuente praised Italy as perennial contenders, noting, “Spain versus Italy is a classic game, it could very easily be the final.”

De la Fuente highlighted the potential of young star Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest player in Euros history against Croatia. “He’s extremely direct, he’s so good one-on-one and he’s very important for us,” said teammate Fabian Ruiz.

Both teams have fitness updates ahead of the clash. Spain’s captain Alvaro Morata is expected to be available, while Aymeric Laporte remains doubtful. Italy’s Nicolo Fagioli has resumed training and might feature after missing the Albania game.

Match Details

  • Kickoff: 20:00 BST
  • Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds, live text updates on BBC Sport website and app, ITV television coverage, and BBC Two highlights at 23:05 BST.

Key Statistics

  • This will be the 11th meeting between Spain and Italy at a major tournament, a record among European nations.
  • Excluding penalty shoot-outs, Italy have lost only one of their 10 matches against Spain at Euros and World Cups.
  • Spain have won all three of their previous European Championship meetings with the reigning champions.
  • Under Luis de la Fuente, Spain have lost only one of 11 competitive games, winning the last seven consecutively.
  • Italy have lost only one of their last 12 matches across all competitions.

The stakes are high for both sides, with a win guaranteeing progression to the round of 16. Italy and Spain, each boasting rich football traditions, are poised to deliver an enthralling contest that could shape their Euro 2024 destinies.

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