Our football match prediction:
All eyes will be on Juventus Stadium when Italy and Spain square off against each other in the Group G derby. La Furia Roja are eager to get their revenge on the Azzurri for the defeat at the Euro 2016 finals, but beating Giampiero Ventura’s men is easier said than done. Italy recorded a 3-1 win over Israel in the opening match of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign and they are certainly capable of grabbing something from Thursday’s football match against Spain. Julen Lopetegui’s troops rolled over Liechtenstein (8-0) in their opener, with the team scoring seven goals in the second half of the match. Spain face an uphill task in the clash against Italy and seeing that the Azzurri totally outplayed La Furia Roja at the 2016 European Championship finals, we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. A man to watch in the home team will be Graziano Pelle, who opened his goal-scoring account against Israel.
Highlighted Player (Marco Verratti):
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is the creative force of the French champions and a world-class professional even though he is only 23. Deemed one of the most talented Italian players of the new generation, Marco Verratti began his career in Pescara, his home town club, from which he was directly transferred to PSG much to surprise of the general football community. Technically gifted playmaker was snapped by Les Parisiens in 2012 in front of Napoli, Roma and Juventus in a five-year deal worth €12 million. Marco Verratti has since gone to become a key member for the French champions already surpassing the 100-game mark for PSG. The 23-year-old playmaker is a player of great vision and awareness, very calm and composed on the ball. His passing skills are impressive often compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo’s. Despite his diminutive figure Marco Verratti is not afraid to get in duels and participate in defence duties which make him an all-rounder and great influence in every segment of the play.
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.