Saturday 2 Sep

Spain vs Italy - Match preview

01 Sep 2017 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL: World Cup Qual. UEFA Group G
INTERNATIONAL: World Cup Qual. UEFA Group G

Spain

  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

vs

Kick-off
18:45 GMT
02 September 2017

Italy

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Kick-off
18:45 GMT 02 September 2017

As international fixtures have returned for the 2017/18 season, there are still places at next summer’s World Cup up for grabs. In Group G, it’s the clash between Italy and Spain that has taken the world’s attention. The clash of two of the best national teams will decide who goes top of group G as both sides are on 16 points after six games. They have both won five of the six games and drawn the other one so far, the draw came in the earlier fixture between the sides last October.

STATS

  • It was Italy who knocked Spain out at last year’s European Championships with a 2-0 win in the last 16. Since then, the Spaniards have been unbeaten in their eight matches, with six wins and two draws. Their last match wasn’t as comfortable as they would’ve wanted with a narrow 2-1 win away at Macedonia but they still took all three points.
  • Italy’s loss on penalties against Germany at the Euros ended a decent run going into the tournament and now they are in fantastic form. In their nine matches since the tournament, they have picked up eight wins with a draw against Spain stopping them from their 100% record. They eased past Liechtenstein in their last game with a 5-0 victory.
  • Diego Costa, who has been exiled at Chelsea, has been brilliant in the group so far for Spain and there isn’t a player with more goals. However, he hasn’t been selected in the squad, Alvaro Morata is expected to take fill his big boots.
  • One player who has also scored five goals in the group so far is Ciro Immobile of Italy. The Lazio striker will be hoping to add to this in the big clash with Spain.

HEAD TO HEAD

As you would imagine, this fixture has been close in recent years. Both sides have picked up a win each in the last five meetings with three games that couldn’t be decided. The last game was earlier on in this qualifying group as a Vitolo opener was cancelled out by a Daniele De Rossi penalty in a 1-1 stalemate. The recent matches have been close with none of the last five ending with more than 2.5 goals.

SPAIN NEWS

A win for Spain in this one would be perfect as it would put them top of the table with just three games left. They welcome the return of their all-time leading goal scorer, David Villa to the fold while Marco Asensio will be hoping to take his excellent Real Madrid form into the match. Diego Costa isn’t included in the squad.

Latest matches: Spain

11.06.2017 Worl Macedonia Spain 1:2 W
07.06.2017 Int. Spain Colombia 2:2 D
28.03.2017 Int. France Spain 0:2 W
24.03.2017 Worl Spain Israel 4:1 W
15.11.2016 Int. England Spain 2:2 D

ITALY NEWS

It is just as vital for the Italians to pick up all three points in this fixture as it can also put them top of the group. They are without their star defender, Giorgio Chiellini for the clash which will be a big absence. Other than that, they look in good spirits for the match.

Latest matches: Italy

11.06.2017 Worl Italy Liechtenstein 5:0 W
07.06.2017 Int. Italy Uruguay 3:0 W
31.05.2017 Int. Italy San Marino 8:0 W
28.03.2017 Int. Netherlands Italy 1:2 W
24.03.2017 Worl Italy Albania 2:0 W

SUMMARY

It is an incredibly tough match to call between two of the superpowers in international football. With home support, it is Spain’s match to lose but Italy will certainly be dangerous on the counter attack. There’s so much on the line for both teams so they won’t be giving anything away during the early exchanges of the game. It is expected to be very close and low scoring but Spain should take the win.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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