Italy are riding on the crest of a wave following their win at this summer’s European Championships – or at least they should be. The Azzurri managed to win both the semi-final against their Wednesday night opponents Spain, and the final against England, on penalties at Wembley Stadium to lift the trophy.
Perhaps there was something of a hangover from that tournament for Roberto Mancini and his side though as they were held to draws by both Bulgaria and Switzerland in World Cup Qualifying last month. Italy did bounce back however, Lithuania 5-0 in their last fixture.
Spain will have been devastated to have come so close to another European final this summer. La Furia Roja started slowly in Euro 2020 and were held to draws by both Sweden and Poland before overcoming Slovakia, Croatia and Switzerland prior to that exit at the final four stage.
Their return to action last month yielded six points from a possible nine, although supporters will have expected maximum points from those three qualifying fixtures. Sweden were 2-1 winners over Luis Enrique’s men, but they bounced back to overcome Georgia and Kosovo in their following two World Cup qualifying games.
Italy vs Spain: Match Stats
It was no surprise to our pundits when Italy and Spain needed penalties to find a winner at Wembley back in July. The two sides are well matched and even both showed their occasional vulnerabilities in last month’s matches. Eight of the last 15 meetings between the two nations have ended level after 90 minutes.
Ferran Torres has three goals to his name for Manchester City this season as he’s been tasked with an attacking role after the club failed to sign a new striker in the summer. The former Valencia man has found the net in Spain’s last two games, the wins over Kosovo and Georgia last month.
2 September 2017 – Spain 3-0 Italy – World Cup Qualifying
6 October 2016 – Italy 1-1 Spain – World Cup Qualifying
27 June 2016 – Italy 2-0 Spain – Euro 2016
24 March 2016 – Italy 1-1 Spain – Friendly
Historically, games between Spain and Italy have been close, with La Roja just about holding the edge on 12 wins to 10 (12 draws). The nations met as recently as July, when the Azzurri earned their spot in the Euro 2020 final by beating Spain on penalties at Wembley Stadium.