Spain finished on the losing side back in July’s European Championship semi-final as the Azzurri prevailed on penalties and went on to win the tournament, beginning an unforgettable summer of sport for Italy.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy are on a world-record run of 37 matches without defeat and have a squad predictably stuffed full of players who took part in their run to glory in the Euro final over England at Wembley.
“We’ll be facing a great Italy team: they deservedly beat England in the final of the Euro and they’ve kept their long unbeaten run going,” said Spain coach Luis Enrique after announcing his squad on Thursday.
“But like our psychologist says, defeat comes to every team. And that means that they’re closer to losing, that time is getting nearer.”
Mancini admitted that “Spain were the team we struggled against most during Euro 2020″.
“They are a good team with good players. It will be a good match,” he told uefa.com.
The only different face from the Euro crowd was supposed to be in-form Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, who on Sunday scored his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.
However injuries in the run-up to and during the weekend’s Serie A fixtures mean Juventus striker Moise Kean, AC Milan defender Davide Calabria and Inter Milan youngster Federico Dimarco have all been drafted in at the last minute.
The trio have respectively come on board in place of Italy’s usual starting centre-forward Ciro Immobile and Atalanta’s Rafael Toloi and Matteo Pessina.
For Dimarco it’s a first ever call up and comes from the man who in 2014 gave the 23-year-old his debut at Inter Milan, where he has impressed so far this season.