Friday, July 12, 2024

Italy ´like looking in the mirror´ for Spain, says De la Fuente

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Jun 2024

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Luis de la Fuente sees striking similarities between Italy and his Spain side as La Roja prepare to “get muddy” against the Azzurri at Euro 2024.

Spain and Italy each won their Group B openers, against Croatia and Albania respectively, and a further victory for either team on Thursday will clinch top spot.

Although the pair account for three of the past four European Championship titles, neither have widely been counted among the leading contenders, but De la Fuente expects a highly competitive encounter between two young sides.

“They’re very similar to us,” Spain coach De la Fuente said of Italy. “They have changed coach and they have young players. They are very competitive.

“When I see them, it’s almost like looking at ourselves in the mirror actually.

“We are a growing, developing team, working on cohesion and consistency, and so are they. I think it will be a very high quality match.”

Italy beat Spain on penalties in the semi-finals of the last Euros, while the sides went on to meet in the 2012 final when they last played each other in the group stage.

The calibre of the fixture makes for a mouthwatering occasion, in which De la Fuente is keen to ensure Spain will be “ready for everything”.

“It’s a football clasico, a clash that could easily be a Euros or World Cup final,” he said.

“We are prepared to get muddy, to dig deep in a quarry, for a good day at the office. We are ready for everything.

“We know what kind of football Italy play and how competitive they are, so we won’t be surprised. I expect a strong, aggressive Italy who will try to control possession.”

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