Spain and Italy face off in the fourth and last quarter final of Euro 2008 for a repeat of their 1994 World Cup clash.
The Spanish won all of their group matches and were never threatened at the top of Group D. Russia were downed 4-1 and wins over Sweden and Greece earned Luis AragonÃƒÂ©s a convincing nine points.
But the real things starts now as Spain face their eternal problem once again: Italy. Spain haven’t defeated the Italians in more than eighty years. Their last competitive meeting was 14 years ago, when the Azzurri won the World Cup quarter final 2-1.
Spain have made it a habit to do well in the group phase but then crash out in the next round. But The Iberians will do anything in their power to change their fate this year.
AragonÃƒÂ©s has a fit selection to choose from while Italy boss Donadoni will have to do without defender Andrea Barzagli as result of a knee injury suffered in training.
Italy began their tournament in the worst possible way, losing 3-0 to the Netherlands. Against Romania, they didn’t get further than a 1-1 draw and faced elimination when the Romanians were given a late penalty. Adrian Mutu missed and Italy were still alive.
The French were then defeated 2-0 and so, Italy somehow made their way to the next round at Euro 2008.
Not only Barzagli is out for the match with Spain: Influential midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso are suspended and will have to watch from the stands.
But AC Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini feels that this won’t affect their chances: “Italy’s strength is that we are truly a united group who never get carried away or discouraged.”
The southern clash will be overseen by referee Herbert Fandel of Germany, and starts at 20:45 local time in Vienna, Austria.
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