Nazionale A

The Nations League semi-final will see Italy face Spain, the challenge against the Red Fury is on 15 June in Enschede

Evani: "We have always struggled against them, we will try to limit their strength. It would be nice to dedicate a victory to Vialli". On 14 June in Rotterdam the other semi-final will be between the Netherlands and Croatia

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Nations League semi-final will see Italy face Spain, the challenge against the Red Fury is on 15 June in Enschede

Spain will be Italy's opponent in the UEFA Nations League semi-final. The match will be played on Thursday 15 June (20.45 CET) in Enschede, while the other semi-final between the Netherlands and Croatia will be staged the day before in Rotterdam. The third-place play-off and the final are scheduled for Sunday 18 June in Enschede (15:00 CET) and Rotterdam (20:45 CET) respectively.

This is the outcome of the draw held this morning in Nyon in the presence of FIGC president Gabriele Gravina and Alberico Evani, assistant coach to Roberto Mancini. Drawing the balls from the urn was an old acquaintance of the Italian league, Wesley Sneijder, winner of the Treble with Inter in 2010. It was the record holder in terms of appearances (134) with the Dutch national team that drew Italy and Spain, already opposing each other on 6 October 2021 in the semi-final of the second edition of the Nations League. At the Stadio Meazza in Milan, the Red Fury won 2-1 (two goals from Ferran Torres and one from Pellegrini), putting an end to the Azzurri's streak of 37 consecutive unbeaten results. There are 39 previous meetings with Spain (11 wins for Italy, 16 draws and 12 defeats), with the memory of the win on penalties in the semi-final of EURO 2020 still fresh.

"As a team and as a type of game, Spain were perhaps the worst opponent," Evani commented, "but it is also nice to face them again. We have always struggled against them, both in the semi-finals of the European Championships and in the Nations League. Despite having changed coach (de la Fuente) I don't think Spain will change their way of playing, based on a ball possession that is difficult to play against: we will try to find solutions to limit their strengths and exploit ours". Thoughts turn to Gianluca Vialli: "We will work hard to dedicate the victory to him, with his charisma he was a fundamental figure in the European Championship win."

Italy - who will be back on the pitch at the end of March to face England and Malta in the first matches of the qualifiers for the European Championship in Germany 2024 - reached the final phase of the UEFA Nations League for the second consecutive time, winning Group 3 of League A with 11 points.

After draws against Germany (1-1) and England (0-0) and a narrow victory over Hungary (2-1) in the first three matches, the Azzurri suffered their only defeat (5-2) in the match against Germany played on 14 June in M├Ânchengladbach. The last two victories last September against England (1-0) and Hungary (2-0) were decisive for reaching the Final Four.

The UEFA Nations League Final Four schedule

Semi-finals

14 June: Netherlands v Croatia (20.45 CET, Rotterdam)
15 June: Spain v Italy (20.45 CET, Enschede)

Finals

Third-place play-off: (15.00 CET, Enschede)
Final: (20.45 CET, Rotterdam)