The much-anticipated Euro 2016 is less than three months away and the teams are gearing up for the mega event, which kick-starts in France June 10. With Euro 2016 in view, a mouth-watering clash between two Europan giants, Italy and Spain, is set to take place in an international friendly at Stadio Friuli in Udine Thursday.
Such international friendlies are going to be of utmost importance as teams can use different strategies and experiment with their team combinations ahead of the mega competition in France.
Italy and Spain have some world-class players, which makes the contest even more interesting. If Italy have stars such as Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan El Shaarawy and Matteo Darmian, Spain also have Cesc Fabregas, Iker Casillas and Alvaro Morata.
Spain look a solid team compared to Italy, who are going to miss Marco Verratti, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. Despite such players missing, Italy are always going to be a huge threat at home, and national team coach Antonio Conte believes they will have to play their best game, and attack their opposition.
Friendlies like these are always a tough challenge as the national team players play in various clubs around the world and the coach will only get to see them play as a unit in such friendlies ahead of Euro 2016.
"We know we will face a very strong national team, one of the favourites. They are a great opponent. We want to be able to find different solutions without changing out principles, which are to keep a high tempo and attack our opposition," ESPN FC quoted Conte as saying.
Though Italy might come up with their own plan to defeat Spain, they know they are in for a tough match with the Spaniards, who play an attacking brand of free-flowing football. When on song, Spain can score goals for fun. Spain may no longer be that dominant force, which they used to be some years ago, but they are still one of the the best teams in Europe. Spain lie on third place in latest FIFA standings.
Spain are tipped as favourites for Euro 2016 title. Such matches against tough oppositions test quality teams like Spain.
Players from both the camps, primarily fringe players, will be keen to impress their respective managers, and get into the Euro squad.
Where to watch live
Italy vs Spain is scheduled for a 7:45 p.m. GMT (1:15 am IST, 2:45 p.m. ET) start. There is no live TV coverage in India.
Viewers in Italy can watch the game on RAI Uno.
Audience in the U.S. can watch the game on ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes TV, and stream the game live on Watch ESPN.