Gdansk: Spain will have to go through Euro 2012 without influential duo David Villa and Carles Puyol, who were ruled out of the finals before the tournament started due to injury.
Therefore, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who has been inconsistent over the last 18 months, will likely be given the nod by coach Vicente del Bosque to start up front, although Athletic Bilbao`s Fernando Llorente is another option.
At the back, due to Puyol`s absence, Sergio Ramos should slot in at centre-back with Alvaro Arbeloa at right-back. Meanwhile, midfielder Cesc Fabregas may not be risked from the start after picking up a thigh problem in the Copa del Rey final but Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla will be hoping for a chance in more attacking roles.
Italy have more than their fair share of problems, however, with an investigation into a betting scandal resulting in Domenico Criscito being cut from the team, first-choice striker Giuseppe Rossi out of the tournament due to ligament damage and Andrea Barzagli being sidelined for the first two matches with a calf strain.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini missed the Azzurri`s 3-0 friendly loss to Russia, but has claimed he is fully recovered and should start at the back. Midfielder Daniele De Rossi is likely to move into a three-man defence as Prandelli switches from a 4-3-1-2 to a 3-5-2 formation in the hope of changing their fortunes.
Emanuele Giaccherini and Federico Balzaretti will battle it out for a spot on the left of midfield but Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli are expected to continue their partnership up front.
First Published: Sunday, June 10, 2012, 11:07