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Spain V Italy Confederations Cup 2013 Semi-Final - Match Preview
Reigning world and European champions Spain face traditional rivals Italy in the second semi final for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. The winner of this tie will meet hosts Brazil in Sunday's final, while the loser meets Uruguay in Saturday's play-off for third and fourth places.
Vicente del Bosque and Cesare Prandelli last met in the final for the 2012 UEFA European Championships and no matter what they may say otherwise, this is as much about revenge and bragging rights as it is about winning the Confederations Cup.
Spain have not been beaten, in a competitive fixture, for nearly three years now and the Azzurri would give almost anything to be the side to inflict a first loss on La Roja since the Swiss shocked them at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
What the Coaches Say
Vicente del Bosque (Spain): "For us, Italy is a challenge in front of us as we try to get to the final. I imagine for Italy it's very important because the loss is fresh in their minds from the European final, and I am sure they are thinking of revenge. This [the defeat to Spain] happened over a year ago. They've kept the same group - a good one. They've kept the same coach, and they will come after us."
Cesare Prandelli (Italy): "Spain are in much better shape than us, given the ease with which they qualified. They have a clear identity and are clear favourites. Spain are the best team in the world and they have proved that over the last four or five years. They are almost impossible to beat. One would never like to play them, but we have to and I am convinced that we can make it difficult. This challenge always creates great motivation."
Both coaches have refused to comment on the possible match with Brazil, a sign they realise this semi final will be a massive test of their squad's capabilities, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.
Probable Line-Up - Spain:
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba;
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta;
Pedro, Torres; Silva
Probable Line-Up - Italy:
Barzagli, Chiellini, Bonucci;
Maggio, Pirlo, Rossi, Giaccherini;
Candreva, Montolivo; Gilardino
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