A place in the final of the second edition of the Uefa Nations League is on the line as Italy welcome Spain to the San Siro tonight.
The two sides will renew their rivalry just three months on from an enthralling clash at Wembley in the semi-finals of Euro 2020, a game which Italy eventually won on penalties before going on to life the trophy thanks to another shootout victory in the final over England.
Roberto Mancini’s side were held to draws by Bulgaria and Switzerland in World Cup qualifying as they returned to action last month, but those results, along with a thrashing of Lithuania, extended their unbeaten run to 37 games.
In doing so, they surpassed the record held jointly by Brazil and their opponents tonight, who are making steady progress under Luis Enrique. A place in the final against either Belgium or France awaits the victors.
You can follow all the action LIVE with Standard Sport’s blog below...
GOAL! Torres heads second
RED! Bonucci sent off before half-time
GOAL! Torres gives Spain the lead
TV channel: Sky Sports
Spain team news: Gavi becomes youngest ever player
FT: Italy 1-2 Spain
21:44 , Malik Ouzia
The unbeaten run is over!
Spain will play either Belgium or France in Sunday’s final.
21:42 , Malik Ouzia
90+4 mins: Italy still have six men behind the ball as they pump it long for Kean to try his luck against two centre-halves. Get Chiellini up front, lads!
21:41 , Malik Ouzia
90+3 mins: Spain have kept the ball for the first three of them.
21:39 , Malik Ouzia
90+1 mins: There’ll be five added minutes...
21:37 , Malik Ouzia
89 mins: Oyarzabal is the latest into the book but suddenly Italy aren’t bothered about that, they just want to get on and take the free-kick.
When they do, they immediately give away possession.
21:35 , Malik Ouzia
87 mins: The cavalry charge hasn’t come yet because Italy can’t get the ball. Sergi Roberto is on for Spain and wins them a precious corner.
GOAL! Italy 1-2 Spain | Lorenzo Pellegrini 83’
21:31 , Malik Ouzia
Spain are caught on the break from their own corner as Pau Torres loses out to Chiesa on halfway and he squares to leave Pellgrini a tap-in.
Not done yet...
21:26 , Malik Ouzia
78 mins: This is some cameo from Pino. He breezes past a couple and then plays a perfect ball into the middle for Oyarzabal but Donnarumma gets down sharply to keep his shot out.
21:23 , Malik Ouzia
75 mins: A couple of Spain changes now, as Koke makes way for Merino and Tottenham new boy Bryan Gil is also into the action, replacing Sarabia. He’s wearing No6, which is annoying me almost as much as Gavi’s No9.
21:19 , Malik Ouzia
71 mins: The Italians have lost it a bit here and Chiellini is absolutely desperate for the referee to even things up. He pretty much earned Sarabia a booking a minute ago and now he’s talked Pino into the book as well, despite the fact that it was Locatelli grabbing at the teenager’s leg.
21:16 , Malik Ouzia
68 mins: Those substitutions brought a little injection of energy for Italy but Spain are back in control now and have had almost 70 percent of the ball.
21:12 , Malik Ouzia
63 mins: That would’ve sealed it!
Pino leads his man a merry dance down the right and dinks into Oyarzabal in the middle but his header is just wide.
21:10 , Malik Ouzia
61 mins: Chiesa bursts onto a long ball over the top and from a tight angle absolutely crashes the bouncing ball off the outside of Unai Simon’s near post.
The flag is subsequently raised so it wouldn’t have counted anyway but that’s a small positive for the Italians.
21:06 , Malik Ouzia
58 mins: It took a full three minutes more for the ball to go out so Italy can make these changes. It’s two of their most experienced players making way, too, as Insigne and Verratti trot over to the sideline.
21:03 , Malik Ouzia
55 mins: Roberto Mancini has seen enough in this first ten minutes to realise his side haven’t got a prayer of getting back into the game if it carries on like this.
Moise Kean and Manuel Locatelli are about to come on.
21:01 , Malik Ouzia
53 mins: There aren’t many teams you’d want to go a man down to less than Spain. Italy have hardly touched the ball since half-time.
This could turn into a very long half for the hosts.
20:57 , Malik Ouzia
48 mins: Unsurprisingly, the Italians are now waving imaginary cards every time there’s a foul, Jorginho trying to get Gavi booked at the moment.
Meanwhile, Ferran Torres is down and he is not going to be able to continue. Not quite sure what the problem is but 18-year-old Yeremi Pino is on.
20:53 , Malik Ouzia
Bernadeschi is the man sacrificed at the interval for Chiellini. It’s a big, big ask for Italy here.
20:52 , Malik Ouzia
It looks like Giorgio Chiellini is going to be on for Italy at the break. Easy to say now, but I wonder if Roberto Mancini regrets not making the change immediately after Bonucci’s red card.
See for yourself...
20:47 , Malik Ouzia
🚨 GOAL 🚨
🗣 "Ferran Torres is a very special player!"
The Manchester City man has two 🔥
Spain lead 10-man Italy 2-0 in their #NationsLeague semi-final.
📺 Watch live on SS Football
📱 Follow #ITASPA here 👉 https://t.co/6NabQbJ9VE pic.twitter.com/ss4vHuhKqA
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 6, 2021
20:45 , Malik Ouzia
I’ve probably done Torres a disservice saying he couldn’t miss that second chance - he really could have. It was a terrific header back across goal into the far corner.
HT: Italy 0-2 Spain
20:40 , Malik Ouzia
That long unbeaten streak is in real, real danger.
GOAL! Italy 0-2 Spain | Ferran Torres 45+2’
20:36 , Malik Ouzia
It’s wonderfully worked as well, and the same combination again as Oyarzabal cushions a wonderful, lifted cross to Torres at the far post and he can’t miss.
20:35 , Malik Ouzia
45 mins: The cards are flying about now. Azpilicueta is into the book for a body-check on Emerson.
Insigne has taken the armband for Italy, by the way.
20:31 , Malik Ouzia
41 mins: A goal down and now a man down as well!
It’s the skipper who’s gone, Leonardo Bonucci is shown a second yellow card, this time for an elbow on Sergio Busquets.
20:30 , Malik Ouzia
40 mins: Spain have been excellent here, keeping the ball really well and then pinning Italy back when they lose it.
We’ve not seen the best of the European champions yet.
20:27 , Malik Ouzia
37 mins: Turning into a great game, this. Gavi does brilliantly to win it off Bastoni in midfield with a strong sliding challenge and then drives forward before laying it left to Oyarzabal.
He’s stretching slightly though and can only steer straight at Donnarumma and this time the ‘keeper makes light work of it.
20:25 , Malik Ouzia
35 mins: Should be 1-1!
Chiesa gets in far too easily down the left and lays across to an unmarked Insigne, who lets it come across his body and takes is first-time on his right foot but shanks it well wide.
20:24 , Malik Ouzia
34 mins: Great save. Bernadeschi shapes for the far corner but fires inside Alonso and at the near, where Unai Simon gets down really sharply to push it onto the post.
20:24 , Malik Ouzia
33 mins: I wondered if that error from Donnarumma might cause the crowd to lay off him a little bit - biting your nose to spite your face and all that. If anything, though, it’s galvanised them.
20:21 , Malik Ouzia
30 mins: That’s woken someone up in the upper tier - which at the San Siro is very ‘upper’ indeed.
Bonucci, who had been booked for dissent a few moments earlier, has a wild swing on the volley at a headed clearance and troubles the gods.
20:17 , Malik Ouzia
27 mins: Better from Italy, as Insigne plays a clever reverse to Verratti on the overlap and Gavi has to go all the way with him to concede a corner.
Di Lorenzo meets Insigne’s delivery with a low diving header at the near-post but makes too much contact when just a glance was needed.
20:14 , Malik Ouzia
24 mins: Italy look a bit rattled here and not just their goalkeeper. Marco Verratti does what Marco Verratti always does and engineers a free-kick out of nothing to calm things down a bit.
20:09 , Malik Ouzia
19 mins: Almost another!
I’m not sure how this has stayed out. Donnarumma looks like this reception might have gotten to him as he lets an Alonso volley slips straight through his hands and onto the post behind him before Bonucci steams across to bail him out, somehow managing to blast it behind and not into his own net.
GOAL! Italy 0-1 Spain | Ferran Torres 17'
20:07 , Malik Ouzia
Oyarzabal picks it up out on the left and whips a sensational early ball into the middle that takes Bastoni out of the game.
Torres has peeled off the back of him and meets it on the volley in mid-air to steer in via the far post.
20:06 , Malik Ouzia
16 mins: He really is getting the treatment here, Donnarumma. You would not believe he saved a penalty to win the European Championships for these fans three months ago.
20:05 , Malik Ouzia
13 mins: Best chance of the game so far. Spain work it nicely down the left as Alonso steers in behind for Sarabia, who should probably lay across the face of goal immediately to leave Torres a tap-in, but he delays and instead cuts back for Oyarzabal, whose shot is blocked by Bastoni.
20:00 , Malik Ouzia
9 mins: 17-year-old Gavi, who is weirdly wearing the No9 shirt despite playing in central midfield, has had a tidy enough start to his Spain debut, a few nice touches and confident passes. It’s Italy who’ve begun on top, though.
19:56 , Malik Ouzia
5 mins: Decent hit, this. Federico Chiesa is such a live-wire and has a crack from long range, which Unai Simon parries away.
His opposite number, Gianluigi Donnarumma, is being whistled by the home crowd when he’s got the ball, on account of his departure from AC Milan to join PSG this summer.
19:52 , Malik Ouzia
2 mins: It looks like Bernadeschi is going to be the man to play through the middle for the Italians, who are without Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile because of injury.
Chiesa and Insigne keep their usual positions on the flanks.
19:50 , Malik Ouzia
The little car is back!
With the ball delivered, we’re underway...
19:47 , Malik Ouzia
National anthems time and they’re a couple of corkers, aren’t they? Sounds like there’s a big old travelling contingent from Spain.
Those renditions of the Italian one in Rome in the summer were just magnificent and Milan is in cracking voice here, too.
19:41 , Malik Ouzia
Right then, the teams are in the tunnel, just about to emerge into the glorious arena that is the San Siro.
15 minutes to go...
19:33 , Malik Ouzia
— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Azzurri_En) October 6, 2021
Italy team news
19:17 , Malik Ouzia
As for Italy, no surprise to see that Roberto Mancini has stuck with the core of the side that went all the way at Euro 2020, only really making changes where necessary.
Alessandro Bastoni - who only featured in the final group game against Wales - starts alongside Leonardo Bonucci at centre-back in the absence of Georgio Chiellini, while there is no start for Giacomo Raspadori, who made his debut at the tournament having never previously been capped.
Instead it is the trio of Lorenzo Insigne and Federicos Bernadeschi and Chiesa that form the attack.
The midfield triumvirate of Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and Marco Verratti remains in tact.
Gavi to set new record
19:00 , Malik Ouzia
Barcelona starlet Gave only turned 17 in August but he has been named in Luis Enrique’s starting lineup tonight and will become the youngest player in Spain’s history.
Elsewhere, as expected, Unai Simon keeps his place in goal despite David de Gea’s good form, while Marcos Alonso’s bright start to the season with Chelsea sees him start at left-back.
Confirmed starting lineups
18:48 , Malik Ouzia
Italy XI: Donnarumma, Di Lorenzo, Bonucci, Bastoni, Emerson, Jorginho, Barella, Verratti, Chiesa, Bernadeschi, Insigne
Spain XI: Simon, Alonso, P. Torres, Laporte, Azpilicueta, Busquets, Gavi, Koke, Oyarzabal, Sarabia, F. Torres
18:41 , Malik Ouzia
Betting odds and tips
Italy to qualify: 4/7
Spain to qualify: 11/8
Italy to win 2-1: 8/1
Federico Chiesa first goalscorer: 9/2
Standard Sport prediction
18:32 , Malik Ouzia
If their Euro 2020 meeting was anything to go by there isn’t much between these two sides and we can expect another close encounter tonight.
Expect home advantage to come good for the Italians.
Italy 2-1 Spain.
Spain squad in full
18:20 , Malik Ouzia
Luis Enrique hasn’t gone in for wholesale changes since the summer either, having taken a pretty young squad to Euro 2020 but there are some interesting additions, including West Ham’s Pablo Fornals and Tottenham new boy Bryan Gil.
Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Man. United), Robert Sánchez (Brighton), Unai Simón (Athletic)
Defenders: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Eric García (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Man. City), Iñigo Martínez (Athletic), Pedro Porro (Sporting CP), Sergio Reguilón (Tottenham), ï»¿Pau Torres (Villarreal)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Pablo Fornals (West Ham), Gavi (Barcelona), Bryan Gil (Tottenham), Koke (Atlético), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), ï»¿Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Rodri (Manchester City), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona)
Forwards: ï»¿Yeremi Pino (Villarreal), ï»¿Pablo Sarabia (Sporting CP), Ferran Torres (Man. City)
Italy squad in full
18:08 , Malik Ouzia
Roberto Mancini has stuck by the players that helped Italy to Euro 2020 glory this summer, with every fit player from that squad also included in his party for tonight’s game.
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Genoa)
Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Davide Calabria (AC Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Federico Dimarco (Inter), Emerson (Lyon)
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Inter), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Juventus), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Marco Verratti (Paris)
Forwards: Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), ï»¿Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Moise Kean (Juventus), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)
How to watch
17:55 , Malik Ouzia
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s semi-final will be televised live on Sky Sports Football, with coverage beginning at 7:15pm.
Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers will also be able to watch the match live online via the Sky Go app.
17:45 , Malik Ouzia
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of Italy vs Spain in the semi-finals of the Uefa Nations League.
We’ll have all the team news and build-up ahead of a 7:45pm kick-off at the San Siro...