In terms of international football, it does not get much bigger than a match between Spain and Italy. Both teams have excellent international pedigree and it was a shock when they were drawn together in the same World Cup qualifying group. Only one team can go through automatically, meaning one of Spain and Italy will be in the playoff round.
The Spanish have qualified for every World Cup finals since 1978 and won the World Cup in 2010. They are aiming to make up for their display when defending their title in 2014, as they were eliminated at the group stage.
Italy have won the World Cup four times and their last victory came in Germany at the 2006 World Cup. They have qualified for every World Cup finals since 1962 and a World Cup without Italy does not seem right.
Spain are currently top of UEFA World Cup qualifying Group G with 16 points from their 6 games played. They have won 5 and drawn 1, with the point coming in the away match against Italy.
Spain’s superior goal difference is what separates them from Italy at the top of the group and they have scored an average of 3.5 goals per match during qualifying. Spain have also been tight defensively, conceding just 3 times.
The Spanish have a fantastic World Cup qualifying record and have remained undefeated in their previous 59 World Cup qualifying games. You must go back to 1993 and the away match in Denmark to find the last time Spain lost a World Cup qualifier.
The Italians come into this match sitting second in the group on goal difference from Spain. Both teams have 16 points having won 5 and drawn 1 of their 6 games but Spain have a 4-goal advantage when it comes to goal difference.
Including friendlies, Italy have won their last 5 matches and conceded just a single goal across all 5 games. They will be hoping their defence can produce a similar performance in this game and if so, they should claim at least point.
Italy have remained undefeated in their last 33 World Cup qualifying games, with their last defeat coming at Slovenia in 2004.
Spain have chosen to recall veteran striker David Villa to the squad, who is currently playing his football in Major League Soccer. However, Alvaro Morata is expected to get the nod in attack with support from David Silva in midfield. Sergio Ramos will captain the team.
Italy have several well-known faces in their defensive set-up and Gianluigi Buffon is set to win his 170th cap in this match. He will be joined in defence by the uncompromising trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, and Leonardo Bonucci.
Top Betting Tips
This is an extremely difficult match to call and both teams will be very wary of not wanting to lose this game. That could lead to a tactical match and the draw is available at 13/5 with Bet365.
Italy have been improving on their defensive record in recent games and will not be committing too many men forward in this match. Spain will be expected to take the game to Italy being the home team but don’t expect many clear-cut chances, especially early in the match. Under 2.5 goals is 27/20 with Bet365.
With undefeated records like both these teams possess, neither loses games easily and if it is going to be a close match the 1-1 correct score, like in the reverse fixture, is tempting at 6/1 with William Hill. More Information about William Hill in this William Hill review.