Italy take on the titleholders Spain in rematch of Euro-2012 final. The match will be played in Saint-Denis at Stade de France on Monday, June 27th.
Italy national team left quite ambiguous impression after three group stage matches despite winning the group after first two games. Italy showed their best performance in clash against favorites Belgium, winning 2-0 with solid defensive football and swift counterattacks, denying all attempts of Belgium stars to create scoring chances. Italy played the same defensive football in following match against Sweden but managed to score only on 88th minute. Third match against Ireland was lost as Italy had no chance to lose the first place in the group, knowing that their opponents in the first knock out stage will be Spain. Conte’s men didn’t leave solid impression and it’s hard to predict what they are capable of in knockout phase.
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Spain had pretty much the same path in the group. They won their first match against Czech Republic after Pique’s late header and thrashed Turkey 3-0. However, they lost to Croatia, 1-2, with Sergio Ramos failed to score from the spot and agave away them the first place in the group with six points gained. Spain stick to their favorite “tiki-taka” style but leading team have already used to this tactic and numerous passes and possession rarely lead to success in top matches in last couple of seasons.
History of the head-to-heads between the opponents started back in 1924. The teams played 18 matches with six wins of the Azzurri, eight matches ended with draws and four times Spain were victorious. Both coaches would focus on defense in this match as conceded goal will give advantage to the team. We should also expect the team to try score an quick goal and it might lead to a corners in first 15 minutes.
Prediction for the match: Spain to take a corner in first 15 minutes.