Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque warns in their Euro 2012 draw “Italy were superior” and could hurt them again in the Confederations Cup semi-final.
The two nations will meet again in Fortaleza on Thursday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT). They faced off twice at Euro 2012, a 1-1 draw in the group phase and 4-0 Spanish victory in the Final.
“We must be wary of Italy because we take as a reference point the game in Danzig a year ago, which we drew 1-1,” said Del Bosque in his Press conference.
“Italy were superior to us in that game and many players had a fantastic performance, above all Emanuele Giaccherini.
“It’s true Mario Balotelli is an important loss for them, but Italy won’t make a drama out of it. They have other players capable of replacing him.”
Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi return from a calf problem and suspension respectively, while Spain won all their group games against Uruguay, Nigeria and Tahiti.
The Azzurri seem set to adopt a 3-4-2-1 system which is aimed at packing the midfield.
“We are not so arrogant that we won’t take into account what approach Italy are taking.”
Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado are carrying knocks, although they took part in Tuesday’s training session.
“We will not change much, although we’ll have to see whether the players currently in doubt have fully recovered. Iker Casillas? I don’t want to answer that. You’ll see tomorrow whether he plays or not.”
Brazil take on Uruguay this evening in the other semi-final in Belo Horizonte, but Del Bosque is holding Spain’s focus.
“We are barred from talking about the Final. The only thing we know is that the Final will be between a European side and a South American side, not necessarily Spain-Brazil.
“We are still highly motivated regardless of the recent success. In football you need good players who have a strong rapport and a winning spirit.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.