Italy vs Spain: Gli Azzurri can justify favourites tag and avenge 2012 demons

A spot in the Euro 2020 final will be up for grabs when two of international soccer's powerhouses renew their rivalry.

When: Tuesday, July 6, 8pm BST

How to watch: BBC One

Where: Wembley

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best bets

Italy to score over 1.5 goals, over 4.5 corners and 1.5 cards at around 11/2

Both teams to score at around 10/11

Giorgio Chiellini to score anytime at around 12/1

This is not the first time these two nations have clashed on the big stage. In fact, this is a rivalry that goes back a century.

Since their first game - 101 years ago - this fixture has produced many memorable moments.

Those include their European Championship clashes of the 1980s, Luis Enrique's bloody incident of 1994, the Euro 2008 penalty shootout and Spain's 4-0 win in the Euro 2012 final.

Spain celebrate their penalty shootout win over Switzerland
Spain celebrate their penalty shootout win over Switzerland

More history will be made on Tuesday at Wembley and, according to the bookmakers, it will be a far more memorable night for the Italians.

As things stand, Roberto Mancini's men are the 7/5 favourites to win in London. Spain, meanwhile, are available at 2/1.

Before the start of the tournament, Italy were regarded as the dark horses. However, their consistently impressive performances have forced the bookies to change their perceptions and accept the fact that Gli Azzurri are serious title contenders.

Last three matches

Spain 3-0 Italy (World Cup Qualifiers - September 2, 2017)

A packed Santiago Bernabeu watched on as Spain dismantled Italy in their World Cup qualifying game.

Isco's first-half brace gave the Spaniards a two-goal advantage at the break and Alvaro Morata added a third in the 77th minute to seal an impressive win in Madrid.

Italy 1-1 Spain (World Cup Qualifiers - October 6, 2016)

A year earlier, Italy were able to produce a far more competitive performance as they held Spain to a 1-1 draw in Turin.

Vitolo opened the scoring for the visitors in the early stages of the second half.

However, Italy came back strongly and found an equaliser courtesy of a Daniele De Rossi penalty.

Italy 2-0 Spain (Euro 2016 - June 27, 2016)

The last meeting between Italy and Spain at a major tournament took place at the round-of-16 stage of Euro 2016.

The Spaniards entered the competition as the defending champions. However, a 2-0 loss in Saint-Denis saw them eliminated.

Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle scored the goals as Italy progressed to the quarter-finals.

Last 10 head-to-heads

Italy wins: 2

Draws: 3

Spain wins: 5

Italy goals: 7

Spain goals: 12

Thirty-two not out

Following their 2-1 win over Belgium in the quarter-final, Italy's unbeaten run currently stands at 32 matches.

What's more, Mancini's men have won 13 straight games and conceded just two goals in that time.

Italy manager Roberto Mancini
Italy manager Roberto Mancini

The former Man City manager has got his side playing highly technical, possession-based soccer. The foundation of this system is the midfield trio of Marco Verratti, Nicolo Barella and Jorginho.

That, coupled with the experienced centre-back pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, has made the Italians an incredibly tough side to score against, never mind beat.

On top of all that, the team's attacking options of Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Chiesa, Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile certainly justify Italy's 2/1 outright price for winning the tournament.

Italy's Ciro Immobile
Italy's Ciro Immobile

Considering their strengths, one bet which stands out is the 11/2 offer on the Italians to score over 1.5 goals, take over 4.5 corners and receive over 1.5 cards.

This exact bet landed during Italy's quarter-final win over Belgium.

Italy's Euro 2020 results…

Turkey 0-3 Italy

Italy 3-0 Switzerland

Italy 1-0 Wales

Italy 2-1 Austria (AET)

Belgium 1-2 Italy

Masters of the semi-final

As one of the most successful sides in international soccer, Spain have been in their fair share of major tournaments. Yet despite this, they have never lost a semi-final.

In truth, it's been a while since Spain last reached the last-four stage. But then again, last time they did so, Spain ended up going all the way at Euro 2012.

Spain's Alvaro Morata, left, and Jordi Alba
Spain's Alvaro Morata, left, and Jordi Alba

There are, however, a lot of differences between the current crop of players and the ones who defended their European crown in Kyiv.

While that team was at the tailend of a golden generation, today's squad seems to be at the beginning of a new frontier.

The likes of Unai Simon, Pau Torres, Rodri, Pedri, Ferran Torres and Mikel Oyarzabal are all aged 25 or younger. Clearly, the future looks promising for Luis Enrique's side.

However, while the potential is undeniable, there are question marks about this team's current title-winning credentials. More specifically, their defensive vulnerabilities.

Luis Enrique celebrates Spain's extra-time victory against Croatia
Luis Enrique celebrates Spain's extra-time victory against Croatia

This is a side that has conceded five goals at Euro 2020 - three against Croatia alone in the round-of-16 stage.

With that in mind, a simple 10/11 bet in the both teams to score market certainly makes a lot of sense.

Spain have scored 11 goals over their last three games and their ability to put the ball into the back of the net is there for all to see. Question is, are they able to keep the Italians out?

Spain's Euro 2020 results…

Spain 0-0 Sweden

Spain 1-1 Poland

Slovakia 0-5 Spain

Croatia 3-5 Spain (AET)

Switzerland 1-1 Spain (1-3 pens)

Goalscorer bets

Two men who haven't made the goalscorer list at Euro 2020 are the centre-back pairing of Bonucci and Chiellini - that's despite having two efforts chalked off by VAR earlier in the tournament.

Considering both were on the pitch during Italy's 4-0 defeat to Spain in the Euro 2012 final, it would be some story for them to score in Tuesday's semi-final.

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini stoops to head the ball
Italy's Giorgio Chiellini stoops to head the ball

At the price of 11/1 and 14/1 respectively, the duo offer great value to score anytime. They've already come close to opening their accounts at these championships and with the Italians placing a great deal of importance on their set-pieces, the duo could yet have more opportunities. 

From a Spanish perspective, the man to back is Alvaro Morata. The Juventus forward is under a lot of scrutiny, but he's got two goals at the tournament and has recently netted against the Italians too. 

The 9/4 offer on Morata to score anytime also offers decent value.

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