Fabio Capello has described Spain as “pure magic” ahead of their Euro 2016 knockout clash with his native Italy.
The reigning European Champions had to settle for second place in Group D, having lost their final game against Croatia, setting up a tie with the beaten Euro 2012 finalists.
However, Capello, who believes the game against Italy is “very difficult to predict”, has been impressed with what he has seen from Spain so far in the tou
“[They are] a great team,” he told Marca. “I love the Spanish team – the best of the tournament, although I liked Croatia.
“La Roja [Spain] should not have lost to the Croats, as they were superior.
“Spain are pure magic. They have good players, a good coach and good play.
“If Italy does not win the Euros, I want Spain to win. Vicente [del Bosque]’s team has great quality.”
One Spanish player who has been in the spotlight in this competition is top scorer Alvaro Morata.
The 23-year-old has already moved back to Real Madrid from Juventus – two clubs previously managed by Capello – during the tournament, and has been linked with a further switch away from Santiago Bernabeu.
But the Italian hopes to see Morata given a chance to impress at Madrid.
“I hope he stays at Real Madrid,” the 70-year-old added. “Of course Zidane could really use a player as good as Alvaro, who I have followed since he was a kid. Morata is very good.
“He is a modern [number] ‘nine’, as journalists say. He is the best [when] he has an eye for goal. He marks many points and he is also decisive.
“I think Real Madrid and Spain have a ‘nine’ for many years.
“By the way, the two years he has been in Turin have been very good. He has grown.
“In addition, training with Juventus and Italy defenders makes you grow and learn quickly.”