Spain vs Italy Preview | Euro 2024 Predictions, Odds & Picks (June 20)

Spain vs Italy Preview | Euro 2024 Predictions, Odds & Picks (June 20) article feature image
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Etsuo Hara/Getty. Pictured: Nicolo Barella.

Spain vs Italy Preview

Thursday, June 20
3 p.m. ET
FOX
Spain Odds+125
Italy Odds+260
Draw+200
Over / Under
2.5
 +130 / -163
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Spain and Italy meet for a crucial match in Group B at Euro 2024.

Spain routed Croatia 3-0 in their first match to take the top spot in the group. This will be a rematch of the Nations League semifinals last summer when they beat Italy 2-1, so they will have a lot of confidence heading into this match. This is the best team that Spain have played in over a year, so we will see if they are ready for the challenge.

Italy came from behind against Albania after conceding a goal inside the first minute. Luciano Spalletti will have his side set up really well out of possession to frustrate Spain and give them a lot of problems. They showed their ability to play without that ball against England in qualifying and will be able to give Spain some problems in this match.

Let's get into my Spain vs Italy preview and Euro 2024 predictions.


Spain

Spain are the most possession-dominant team in this tournament despite holding under 50% possession against Croatia. That was mainly because they were up 3-0 inside the first 45 minutes, so naturally they played more passively in the second half to protect their lead.

When Spain do build up, they mainly utilize a 2-3-5 formation with Rodri at the center of it conducting the entire attack. It's always very balanced and the goal is usually to overload the middle of the pitch. The thing about Spain though is they haven't really faced anybody who is has committed to pressing them high. Italy may just do that to them, as they are a very versatile out of possession side.

Like you saw against Croatia, Spain thrive in positive game states. Normally, when teams that play very passively against them are forced to come out of their defensive blocks and play more aggressively, it leaves a lot of space for them to operate.

Spain do have a pretty clear weakness that Italy can exploit. They are a bad transition defense and because they build out in a 2-3-5 when they lose the ball there is a lot of space out wide. Italy are one of the best teams in this tournament at attacking from out wide, so Spain may have trouble in that aspect.


Italy

Italy did a fantastic job at not only erasing Albania's lead quickly, but controlling the match once they went ahead 2-1. They didn't allow Albania any more high quality chances and in the end only conceded 0.46 xG. This will be a much different type of match and they most likely will not a lot of the ball.

That is not a problem though because they are really good out of possession side. They have the versatility to press high in a man to to man fashion or sit in a solid 5-3-2 defense block and they are elite at denying space through the middle. Spain are a really good counter-pressing team and often smother inferior opponents, but Italy have a ton of really good press resistant defenders and midfielders to play through that pressure.

Spain have a clear weakness defending in transition and in wide areas. What Spalletti wants his team to do is create wide overloads and combinations for Italy, which was the same when he was at Napoli. The fullbacks DiMarco and Di Lorenzo will push inward once they reach the final third to create space out wide to combine with the winger to eventually create a chance via a cross.


Spain vs Italy

Prediction

Even though they kept a clean sheet, it's not like Spain were dominant defensively. They conceded well over two expected goals in total to a pretty bad transition team in Croatia. They still haven't faced a good offense in well over a year in non-friendlies, so this will be a wake up call for them.

Italy being good and flexible out of possession sets up them up really well here against Spain. Italy have won the expected goals battle in all but one match under Spalletti and I think they shouldn't be this undervalued in what is a pretty even matchup.

I have Spain projected at +157, so I like the value on Italy +0.5 at -130.

Pick: Italy +0.5 (-130 via BetRivers

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