Italy vs Spain prediction: How will Nations League semi-final play out tonight? – The Independent


Spain celebrate Ferran Torres’ second goal

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Spain celebrate Ferran Torres’ second goal

(Getty Images)

Follow all the action as Italy host Spain in the semi-final of the Nations League.

Roberto Mancini’s European champions are unbeaten in 37 international matches as they set their eyes on further silverware and know to achieve that feat they will have to triumph over Spain once again. In an exhilarating semi-final at Wembley this summer, Gianluigi Donnarumma’s heroics in the penalty shootout ensured Italy of their place in the Euro 2020 final, where they would, of course, come from behind to defeat England and lift the trophy. Ahead of tonight’s match, Mancini said it was his side’s toughest test of the summer and warned that repeating the result would be far from simple. “They were the team we struggled against most during Euro 2020,” he said. “It would be amazing to win [the Nations League straight] after the European Championship and it would be amazing to qualify for the World Cup early, but it won’t be that easy.”

Spain suffered a surprising defeat against Switzerland in the World Cup qualifiers last month but have since recovered with victories over Georgia and Kosovo. Luis Enrique will be forced to make several changes to his preferred starting eleven, though, with Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Pedri, Dani Olmo and Jordi Alba all ruled out with injury. Follow all the latest updates below:

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Spain beat Italy to reach Nations League final

Spain did the hard work in the first half with two goals from Ferran Torres. Leonardo Bonucci’s sending off was a key point in the match but Italy dug deep to stay in the contest. Giorgio Chiellini’s introduction in the second half marshalled them from the back and they capitalised on an error from Pau Torres to get a goal back.

The closing stages were tense as Italy gave everything to find an equaliser but Spain’s quality on the ball was good enough to see out the match.

Great game. Just what you want from a semi-final.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:50

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Full-time: Italy 1 – 2 Spain

90+7 mins: Spain have won it! They’re into the Nations League final. Italy’s three year unbeaten run is ended!

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:45

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Italy 1 – 2 Spain

90+4 mins: Aymeric Laporte clatters into Moise Kean as they both try to win the ball in the air. Italy are awarded the free kick and will have a chance to get the ball into the box. The foul occured just inside Spain’s half so it’ll be one last throw of the dice.

Calabria chips the ball into the box, Locatelli sprints after it but Unai Simon is there first and he smothers the ball.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:44

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Italy 1 – 2 Spain

90+2 mins: Gil is played into the right side of the box and has the chance to end the game. He prepares to shoot but is tackled by a sliding Di Lorenzo. Brilliant defending from the Italian.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:40

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Italy 1 – 2 Spain

90 mins: Five minutes of added time to play as Donnarumma belts the ball long. The Italian players are going down with the slightest touch trying to trick the referee into awarding them free kicks. There’s plenty of time for them to get this second goal.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:40

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Italy 1 – 2 Spain

87 mins: Gavi is off for Spain with Sergi Roberto replacing him. Roberto Mancini is gesturing wildly on the sidelines. Spain win consecutive corners but don’t utilise either of them.

Oyarzabal is booked for a late tackle on Calabria and Italy have the chance to boot the ball forward.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:37

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Italy 1 – 2 Spain

85 mins: Five minutes of the 90 to go and Italy are back in the contest. They’ll be hoping for one more chance to level things up. Spain need to dominate possession and see out the match.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:34

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GOAL! Italy 1 – 2 Spain (Pellegrini, 83’)⚽️

83 mins: GAME ON! This all comes from a Spanish corner. Chiellini heads the set piece clear and Chiesa chases after the ball. He beats Pau Torres to his and knocks it past the defender for a free run at goal. Pellegrini sprints forward alongside him. Chiesa draws in Unai Simon before passing to Pellegrini who finishes with an easy tap-in.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:31

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Italy 0 – 2 Spain

78 mins: SAVE! Spain should score here. The break is on down the right side with Pino driving the ball forward. He plays a perfect pass out to the far side of the box and finds Oyarzabal all alone. With just Donnarumma to beat the striker aims for the far bottom corner but the Italian goalkeeper dives across to deny with his a strong left hand.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:27

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Italy 0 – 2 Spain

75 mins: Bryan Gil and Mikel Merino get a run out for Spain replacing Koke and Pablo Sarabia. Davide Calabria is also on for Italy in place of Nicolo Barella.

Italy have less than 15 minutes to go to find a way back into this contest or else they are going out of the competition.

Michael Jones6 October 2021 21:25

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