Roberto Mancini’s European champions are unbeaten in 37 international matches as they set their eyes on further silverware and know to achieve that feat they will have to triumph over Spain once again. In an exhilarating semi-final at Wembley this summer, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s heroics in the penalty shootout ensured Italy of their place in the Euro 2020 final, where they would, of course, come from behind to defeat England and lift the trophy. Ahead of tonight’s match, Mancini said it was his side’s toughest test of the summer and warned that repeating the result would be far from simple. “They were the team we struggled against most during Euro 2020,” he said. “It would be amazing to win [the Nations League straight] after the European Championship and it would be amazing to qualify for the World Cup early, but it won’t be that easy.”
Spain suffered a surprising defeat against Switzerland in the World Cup qualifiers last month but have since recovered with victories over Georgia and Kosovo. Luis Enrique will be forced to make several changes to his preferred starting eleven, though, with Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Pedri, Dani Olmo and Jordi Alba all ruled out with injury. Follow all the latest updates below:
Italy face Spain in Nations League semi-final
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage as Italy host Spain in the Nations League semi-finals.
Roberto Mancini’s European champions are currently on an unbeaten run of 37 matches, a world record for an international team, but know they face an extremely difficult test against Spain.
The two sides met in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 in an exhilarating and close-fought match that was eventually decided by a penalty shootout and Luis Enrique is eager to see his injury-stricken side avenge that loss.
The winner of tonight’s semi-final will face either Belgium or France in the final.
Tom Kershaw6 October 2021 17:58