Our prediction for this Nations League match:
A place in the UEFA Nations League A final will be at stake when Italy and Spain face each other at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Wednesday evening. The Azzurri are on the right track to book their place at the 2022 World Cup finals, but they have big ambitions for the Nations League playoffs as well. All Leonardo Spinazzola, Alessandro Florenzi, Andrea Belotti and Gaetano Castrovilli are sidelined with injuries, but there are no other absentees in the home team.
Fit-again Roma midfielder Pellegrini is pushing for a start. La Roja, on the other hand, did well to beat Kosovo 2-0 in their last World Cup qualifier, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against Italy. Sergio Ramos remains on the sidelines through injury, while Barcelona rising star Gavi has earned his first Spain call-up. Anyhow, a close encounter is on the cards in Milano, and we are tempted to put our money on draw.
Highlighted Player (Leonardo Bonucci):
Over the years Leonardo Bonucci has established himself as one of Juve’s key defenders. The 190-cm-tall centre back, who is capable of playing as a right back as well, was born in Viterbo on 1 May, 1987 and he started his senior career at Inter. However, he made no more than one league appearance for the Nerrazzurri between 2005 and 2009.
After ending his loan spells with the likes of Treviso and Pisa, he joined Bari in 2009 and he scored one goal in 38 league games for the club. Juventus signed him in July, 2010 for a fee of €15.5 million. Leonardo Bonucci won his fifth Scudetto with Juve in the 2015/2016 season and he played in the 2014/2015 Champions League final against Barcelona. However, the Bianconeri were beaten by Barca in the title game.
Bonucci made his Italy debut on 3 March, 2010 and two years later he participated in the Euro 2012 final against Spain. The Azzurri were hammered by Vicente del Bosque’s troops 4-0 in the Olympic Stadium clash.
Highlighted Team (Spain):
Historically, Spain have been regarded as one of top sides on international stage, but they often struggled to live up to the billing. After reaching the semi-finals at the 1950 World Cup, La Furia Roja won the European Championship trophy on home soil in 1964, but little did they know that it would remain their only trophy for another 44 years.
Following some disappointing showings, Spain finally returned to the biggest stage under Vicente Del Bosque, winning three straight trophies between 2008 and 2012, before crashing out in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. La Furia Roja enjoyed plenty of success with their tiki-taka style of play, originally designed by Barcelona, with Vicente Del Bosque’s side packed with technically skilled players such as Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva.
Strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa also had a major role to play in those successes, but when it comes to their famous predecessors, the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Michel, Emilio Butrageno, Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Morientes and Fernando Hierro should not be forgotten.