5th of October 2016 Author: Johnny Karp
Two of Europe's most successful footballing nations clash on Thursday as Italy host Spain in their Group G World Cup qualifying match. The two sides have also met at this summer's Euro 2016 and Italy won 2-0, a success that they had been seeking for a very long time. That was the first victory for Italy in six encounters against Spain, but history shows that all matches between these two sides have been tough for both teams and difficult to predict for punters.
New Italy head coach Giampiero Ventura replaced new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte after Euro 2016 and his spell started with a 3-1 friendly defeat against France. The World Cup qualifying campaign started well for Italy though as they earned a 3-1 victory in Israel. The Italian head coach has no injury concerns ahead of this match, but he will have tough choices to make, especially in midfield where Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo and Marco Parolo are all pushing for a single slot in the starting eleven.
Spain also have a new head coach in Julen Lopetegui after veteran Vicente del Bosque was forced out following a poor display at Euro 2016. His reign started with a 2-0 friendly victory in Belgium and continued with an 8-0 thumping of minnows Liechtenstein in their opening Group G match. Saul Niguez and Thiago are fitness doubts ahead of this match while Javi Martinez will surely miss out due to a thigh injury.
Italy: Buffon - Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini - Candreva, Verratti, De Rossi, Florenzi, De Sciglio - Pelle, Eder
Spain: De Gea - Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba - Koke, Busquets, Iniesta - Vitolo, Costa, Silva
My prediction: 1-1 draw.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Italy win - 3.10
Draw - 3.00
Spain win - 2.70
8th of November 2017
14th of November 2017
Italy is in transition period now after such a successful coach like Conte left the job, his successor Gian Piero Ventura doesn't have the needed experience at this level I think so he should prove from now on he's capable of doing it.
The start is not great but the qualifying group is not the toughest so there will be enough time for Ventura to settle in and improve the quality of performances of his team.
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