BETTING & MATCH PREVIEW
On Wednesday night, Italy host Spain at the Giuseppe Meazza in the first semi-final of the 2021 Nations League. The winners will face either Belgium or France in the final.
The Azzurri head into this game on the back of a 37-game unbeaten run in international football. The European champions will hope to continue that recent stellar run of results and claim the Nations League trophy as well as the European Championships trophy.
A 5-0 win over Lithuania in World Cup qualifying last time out ended a run of tight and low-scoring games for Roberto Mancini’s team.
Italy are unbeaten on home soil in the Nations League. However, four of their five unbeaten home games have finished in draws. A 2-0 home win over Poland ended a run of four straight home draws for Mancini’s team on their own patch in the Nations League.
Luis Enrique now looks to have a good blend of youth and experience in his La Roja squad. His team recorded back-to-back victories in World Cup qualifying over Georgia and Kosovo while scoring at least twice in each game and shutting the opposition out. Italy are in a different league to their last two opponents though.
La Roja have an underwhelming recent record in the Nations League, as they have won just three of their last eight matches in the relatively newly formed competition.
The visitors have failed to win any of their previous four away matches in the Nations League, having picked up two draws and suffered two defeats.
Italy have no reported absentees. Manuel Locatelli and Lorenzo Pellegrini may have to settle for a place on the bench though, with Nicolo Barella, Jorginho and Marco Verratti set to start in the centre of midfield for Mancini’s team.
Spain have seen Marcos Llorente, Pedri and Brais Mendez all pull out of the squad due to injury. That could mean a debut for 17-year-old Barcelona wonderkid Gavi, who has been impressive for the Catalan giants in recent weeks.
This should be a fascinating tactical battle. However, we are backing Italy to record a narrow victory in a low-scoring encounter.
PREDICTION – HOME WIN
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