Betting preview: Italy vs Spain - goals in short supply but not cards

European champions should edge out injury-hit Spaniards when it comes to both goals and bookings in Nations League semi-final, according to Andy Schooler.

European champions Italy take on Spain on Wednesday in the opening game of what promises to be a cracking UEFA Nations League Finals tournament.

The winners in Milan will face either world champions France or the world's top-ranked side Belgium in Sunday's final.

Italy are on a record-breaking run of 37 games unbeaten and with home advantage this week, will be confident of stretching that to 39, even if the grounds will only be half full.

When, where and how to watch Italy vs Spain

When: Wednesday, October 6, 7.45pm BST

Where: San Siro, Milan

TV: Sky Sports Football

You can also follow this game via our score centre

Best bets for Italy vs Spain

Italy to win in 90 mins - 6/5

Federico Chiesa first goalscorer - 11/2

Giovanni Di Lorenzo to be shown a card - 21/10

Italy team with most bookings - 7/5

Last meeting

Spain shootout vs Italy Euro 2020 Jul21

Italy 1-1 Spain (4-2 on pens) (Euro 2020 semi-final - July 6, 2021)

These two sides last met in July at Wembley when Italy scraped a narrow win on penalties.

Federico Chiesa's goal on the counter-attack put Italy ahead on the hour before Alvaro Morata bagged a deserved equaliser for the Spaniards with 10 minutes to go.

Extra time provided no further goals so a shoot-out was required.

In it, Spain grabbed the early advantage when Manuel Locatelli missed the first penalty. However, Dani Olmo and Morata both failed to score their spot-kicks, leaving Jorginho to slot home the winner.

Italy would go on to beat England, also on penalties, in the final to become European champions for the second time.

Italy vs Spain - last 10 meetings

Italy wins: 3 (inc 1 on pens)

Draws: 3 (plus 2 others after 90 mins)

Spain wins: 4 (inc 1 on pens)

Italy goals: 8

Spain goals: 13

Both teams scored: 5

Over 2.5 goals: 3

Result betting for Italy vs Spain

It's hard to oppose Italy right now given their terrific 37-match unbeaten run.

Obviously they only drew with Spain over 90 minutes (and 120) at Euro 2020 but it's worth considering how the squads have changed since that clash three months ago.

Italy boast largely the same players, the notable absentee being centre forward Ciro Immobile. The Lazio man is injured, as is his back-up Andrea Belotti, so Sassuolo youngster Giacomo Raspadori is expected to lead the line.

Spain, on the other hand, will be much changed as injuries have hit Luis Enrique's selection plans hard.

Luis Enrique Spain Jul21

Dani Olmo, Jordi Alba, Pedri, Alvaro Morata, Gerard Moreno and Marcos Llorente all appeared in that European Championship semi-final but miss out this time due to injury.

Italy boss Roberto Mancini admitted this week that "Spain were the team we struggled against the most during Euro 2020" but this will be a weaker version despite Enrique's vow that his tactics will be "the same every game", whatever the personnel.

Of course the replacements will still be quality players and Spain could still keep a strangehold on the ball - they had 65% possession at Wembley.

But those absentees have to hurt their chances and they've already struggled in Sweden this season, losing 2-1 in Stockholm last month.

Italy - a team full of confidence at home to one whose line-up will be somewhat unfamiliar - are 6/5 for victory. It looks a fair bet.

For those seeking something bigger, Italy to win to nil at 5/2 could do the job. Of those 37 unbeaten games, 22 have been won to nil, although it should be noted they conceded in all four knockout games at Euro 2020, if you include the extra-time goal Austria scored in the last 16.

Goals and goalscorer bets for Italy vs Spain

Giacomo Raspadori Sassuolo Sep21

Under 2.5 goals looks an obvious choice given Italy's defensive strength and the fact that it's landed in seven of the last 10 meetings between these sides.

However, the layers are clued up about this and a quote of 4/7 only looks worth considering for those putting together a Bet Builder on the game.

With goals potentially in short supply, any goalscorer bets are probably worth having in the first-scorer market, as opposed to the anytime one.

Federico Chiesa Juventus Sep21

Raspadori doesn't have a particularly great goalscoring record yet - just six in Serie A last season and one so far this - so it's Federico Chiesa who makes most appeal.

He's made a flying start to the 2021/22 campaign for Juventus and he's already bagged two goals in five starts, including the winner against Chelsea in the Champions League last week.

For the Azzurri, Chiesa has scored in three of his last six appearances, two of which have been as a substitute.

He was the man who netted the opener in July's Wembley clash and he's a tempting 11/2 to repeat the trick here.

For those seeking Spanish interest in the scorer markets, Ferran Torres looks the man to get with.

After netting against both Georgia and Kosovo last month, he's now scored nine times in his last 14 internationals. He's 13/2 to bag the first against Italy.

Cards bets for Italy vs Spain

Referee Sergey Kasarev Oct19

Goals may be at a premium but there should be a plentiful supply of cards thanks to the presence of referee Sergey Karasev.

The Russian official is well known for his card tallies - in his last 22 UEFA club appointments he has shown at least four cards in 18 of them.

He's record isn't quite so good at international level, although he's still averaging over four per game across his last nine, having shown 37 yellows and a red in those matches.

Over 3.5 cards is a 4/6 shot here, although it's the anytime card market which provides tastier prices.

Right-back Giovanni di Lorenzo gets the nod at 21/10.

Giovanni di Lorenzo Napoli Sep21

With their 4-3-3 system, Spain like to attack in wide areas and a player who committed 13 fouls in six games at Euro 2020 should be kept busy.

Admittedly, Di Lorenzo was only booked in one of those games in the summer but he's already been carded in three of nine matches for Napoli this season.

Di Lorenzo has crossed paths with Karasev on two previous occasions, collecting one card last season.

The other card bet worth a go is Italy to have the most cards at 7/5.

Spain are one of Europe's cleanest teams with only 13 yellows picked up in their last 18 competitive games.

Italy, on the other hand, have 34 in their 19 matches in the same time period.

Yes, they have home advantage which could sway the ref, but an official who shows lots of cards seems more likely to help a trend continue than one who shows few and so the hosts look a touch of value here.

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