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Spain vs Italy – Combined XI ahead of Euro 2024 clash

Spain take on Italy this evening in one of the glamour contests of the group stage at Euro 2024. The two nations have a rich history and will incredibly meet for the fifth straight European Championship, after a semi-final showdown last time out.

Ahead of their contest in Gelsenkirchen, we’ve selected our Spain vs Italy Combined XI.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Donnarruma – Italy

A crucial part of Italy’s success at the 2020 European Championship, where he was named Player of the Tournament to become the first goalkeeper to win the award. His club form has not always coincided with what was once viewed as an unstoppable ascent to becoming the world’s best goalkeeper but Donnarumma remains an elite shot-stopper.

Still just 25, he has already won 63 caps and now captains the Azzurri.

Right-back: Dani Carvajal – Spain

Spain’s opening fixture with Croatia was Dani Carvajal’s first game at a European Championship. The decorated defender had missed the last two tournaments through injury and a decade on from his debut for Spain, played and scored at a Euros. Carvajal has been an unsung hero of six Champions League-winning teams, a joint record for an individual player, and has had his share of the limelight of late.

He’s scored seven goals for club and country in 2023-24 to date, as many as he managed in the past 10 seasons combined, including one in the Champions League final and in the opening fixture of this tournament.

Centre-back: Alessandro Bastoni – Italy

Alessandro Bastoni was a squad member of Italy’s success three years ago but the Inter Milan centre-back arrives at Euro 2024 as the new leader of the Azzurri backline.

Bastoni’s ball-carrying and penetrative passes through lines were a feature of Inter’s Scudetto success in 2023-24 and earned him the Serie A Best Defender award. The 25-year-old – who scored in Italy’s opening win over Albania – is pushing towards the elite bracket of centre-backs in world football right now.

Centre-back: Riccardo Calafiori – Italy

Riccardo Calafiori’s impression on Italian football this season has earned him an Azzurri place. The 22-year-old defender’s unorthodox route to Euro 2024 has included a devastating knee injury that halted his progress as a teenager at Roma, a short stint in Switzerland at Basel, and a change of position from full-back to central defence.

After signing for Bologna last summer, Calafiori excelled as a centre-back as Thiago Motta’s men secured a fifth-placed finish in Serie A and Champions League qualification. His elegance and anticipation have sparked a scramble for his services this summer with Juventus pushing hardest to sign the defender.

Left-back: Federico Dimarco – Italy

Dimarco, like Calafiori, is a player who has taken an unusual path to the top. Developed and discarded at Inter Milan, the Nerazzurri quickly noticed the error of their ways and re-signed Dimarco from Swiss side Sion in 2019.

After loan spells at Parma and Hellas Verona, he has broken into the Inter team to become one of the most effective wing-backs in Italian football. Across the last two seasons, Dimarco has recorded 18 goals and assists in Serie A.

Midfield: Rodri – Spain

Spain’s metronome might be the most influential midfielder in the game right now. Rodri reached 50 league games unbeaten in a Manchester City shirt during the club’s title-clinching win over West Ham last month and has been equally important for La Roja.

His calm, control and combative edge will be fundamental to Luis de la Fuente’s side in their bid to win Euro 2024.

Midfield: Nicolo Barella – Italy

The Azzurri’s all-action midfielder turned their opening game around against Albania, with Barella’s stunning strike underlining his importance to the side. The 27-year-old is one of Serie A’s top talents and has won eight trophies in the last three years, including two league titles with Inter Milan and Euro 2020 with the national team.

Barella’s box-to-box industry will be key in attempts to take on a stylish Spanish midfield, with late ventures forward and relenting work-rate the hallmarks of his game.

Midfield: Pedri – Spain

Pedri was named as the Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020 and returns to the biggest stage with Spain again this summer. Despite an injury-hit season with Barcelona, the 21-year-old ended the campaign well with a brace against Rayo Vallecano and recorded an assist during Spain’s opening win over Croatia.

A fabulous footballer to watch with his intricacy in tight areas and flawless control, Pedri could shine in the Spanish side for the next decade.

Right-wing: Lamine Yamal – Spain

Few footballers have entered Euro 2024 with as much hype as Lamine Yamal, the Spanish starlet who has already broken records. At 16, he has become the youngest-ever player at a European Championship and registered an assist with an inch-perfect cross for Dani Carvajal on debut.

Yamal, who is incredibly combining performing at Euro 2024 with school studies, has seven goals and assists from eight caps for La Roja since his record-breaking senior debut in September. He is a special, special talent.

The youngest players in Euros history as Lamine Yamal breaks two records
Left-wing: Nico Williams – Spain

Nico Williams is another of Spain’s emerging generation and the Athletic Bilbao winger is an excitement machine. The 21-year-old scored eight goals and provided 17 assists in all competitions last season, and ranked among La Liga’s leading players last season for assists (2nd), successful take-ons (2nd), crosses (7th) and progressive carries (4th).

A £43m release clause will look even more appealing with a strong summer.

Spain winger wants Barcelona move despite Premier League talks

Forward: Alvaro Morata – Spain

Alvaro Morata has had his fair share of critics but the Spain captain has grown into his role as La Roja’s leading man. The 31-year-old has 13 goals in his last 23 caps, including their first of Euro 2024 with the opener against Croatia.

That goal took him fourth overall in Spain’s list of leading scorers, while his goal-per-game ratio is significantly better than either Fernando Torres or Raul, the two players immediately above him. It was also his seventh in the European Championship, only Michel Platini (9) and Cristiano Ronaldo (14) have ever scored more.

Read – Euro 2008 – Xavi and Spain’s pass masters finally end decades of underachievement

See more – Iconic Duos: Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and contemporary Catenaccio

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