Soccer-Spain drop Morata for Italy clash

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Euro 2020 - Round of 16 - Croatia v Spain

LONDON (Reuters) - Spain coach Luis Enrique sprung a selection surprise by dropping striker Alvaro Morata to the bench for his side’s Euro 2020 semi-final clash against Italy at Wembley on Tuesday.

Morata, who plays his club football in Italy with Juventus, has started every game at Euro 2020, but is replaced by the scorer of Spain's clinching penalty in their quarter-final shootout victory over Switzerland, Mikel Oyarzabal, who makes his first start of the tournament.

RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo also comes into the Spain attack in place of the injured Pablo Sarabia, while Eric Garcia replaces Pau Torres in the centre of defence.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini has made just one enforced change from the side who beat Belgium in the quarter-final with Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri coming in to replace the injured Leonardo Spinazzola at fullback.

Spinazzola, who has been one of Italy’s standout performers at the tournament so far, had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon picked up against Belgium, and will miss the rest of the tournament.

Italy have only beaten Spain twice in their last 14 meetings in all competitions, a 2-1 friendly win in 2011 and a 2-0 victory at Euro 2016 in the round of 16, with goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle.


Italy: Gianluigi Donnarumma; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (captain), Emerson Palmieri; Jorginho, Marco Verratti, Nicolo Barella; Federico Chiesa, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile

Spain: Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets (captain), Koke, Pedri; Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Toby Davis)