Spain vs ItalyUEFA Nations League, KO: 19:45 Jun 15, 2023, De Grolsch Veste
SPAIN and Italy have both made poor starts to Euro 2024 qualifying so they head into this Nations League semi-final in desperate need of a lift.
New Spanish gaffer Luis de la Fuente already finds himself under a bit of pressure after crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Hampden last time out as Scotland moved above them to the summit of Group A.
He kicked off his reign with a 3-0 home win over Norway but that victory wasn't as comprehensive as the scoreline suggested, with a late double from substitute Joselu adding some gloss to an unconvincing display.
The Spanish rarely threatened Scotland's defence and it will be interesting to see how they react against an Italian side desperate to atone for missing out on Qatar 2022.
The European champions didn't make the best start to the defence of their crown as they lost 2-1 at home to England, with a corner bet salvaging something for me after my other two selections failed to land.
But the Azzurri followed that up with a comfortable 2-0 win in Malta and will now be looking to build a bit of momentum ahead of qualifiers with North Macedonia and Ukraine that will be key to their hopes of reaching Germany 2024.
Italian football seems to be a period of renaissance with three Serie A sides making it to European finals this season, albeit Inter Milan, Roma and Fiorentina all ended up losing in the showpiece. Now it's up to national boss Roberto Mancini to restore the feelgood factor surrounding his side after their Euro triumph and success in the Nations League would be the perfect start.
How the bookies view it
With the game at a neutral venue in the Netherlands it's a tough one to call but Spain are the favourites at a best 13/10 with Ladbrokes. Italy are as big as 12/5 at Bet365 and that looks overpriced given how poor the Spanish were against Scotland. The draw at 90 minutes pays 23/10 at Unibet while Spain are 8/11 at Paddy Power to reach the final and Italy 5/4 shots with BoyleSports.
Recent head to head
These sides played out a memorable semi-final at Euro 2020, with the Italians winning on penalties after an enthralling 1-1 draw at Wembley. But Spain got their revenge with a 2-1 win at the San Siro in the Nations League just a few months later and that has just edged them ahead in the overall head-to-head. It's now six Spanish victories, five wins for the Azzurri and 10 stalemates.
Players to watch
Veteran Alvaro Morata will probably lead the line for Spain and he's 13/8 with Bet365 for anytime scorer. The Atletico Madrid man has been in good form this season, with 20 goals for club and country.
Mateo Retegui has announced himself as an Italy player with goals in their last two games against England and Malta. The striker, who plays in Argentina, is 5/2 with Bet365 to keep his hot international streak going.
Anything else catch the eye?
Games between these nations are usually close so the half-time draw is always a good option and that pays evens with Unibet. McBookie also price a one-goal winning margin for either side at 6/5 and that looks worth a punt.
Spain have dominated the corner count in recent meetings, winning 30-5 across their last four matches with Italy. That suggests backing them in the corner handicap could pay off, with Spain -1 priced a generous 11/10 at Bet365. They have other corner prices too and over four first-half flag kicks pays 13/10.
This UEFA Nations League match between Spain and Italy will be played on Jun 15, 2023 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Spain vs Italy prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.