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Preview: Italy v Spain

Antonio Conte says his Italy side will not be "sacrificial lambs" on Monday when they take on a Spain team who have ended Azzurri dreams in the last two EUROs and gone on to triumph.

Preview: Italy v Spain
Preview: Italy v Spain ©Getty Images
  • Antonio Conte says Italy are ready to "pull off a shock"
  • Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the 2012 final and knocked them out on penalties in the 2008 quarters
  • The holders had their 15-match unbeaten run in the finals ended by Croatia last time out
  • The Azzurri have ten players a booking away from a ban that would rule them out of the last eight
  • The winners face Germany in the quarter-finals in Bordeaux next Saturday

Possible line-ups
 Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, Darmian; Pellè, Éder.
Doubtful: Candreva (hamstring)
Will miss quarter-finals with booking: Barzagli, Bonucci, Buffon, Chiellini, De Rossi, Éder, Insigne, Motta, Sirigu, Zaza

Spain: De Gea; Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Fàbregas; Silva, Iniesta, Nolito; Morata.
Will miss quarter-finals with booking: Ramos

Coach quotes
 Antonio Conte, Italy coach
We have a great deal of respect for Spain: they are one of the best teams in the world and among the favourites to win UEFA EURO 2016. Even so, we've worked and prepared, and it's a last-16 game which will have no tomorrow for one of us. We must not have any regrets.

Everybody talks about defence, about being wary of all their players, but I say let's make sure Spain are wary of what we do. There is organisation in our defence, but there is also organisation in our attack. We've got to try to pull off a shock.

I don't want to go home, the lads don't want to go home. We're not going to be sacrificial lambs – it is up to Spain to prove they are better than us.

Chiellini on facing former team-mate Morata

Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
In the last European Championship, our first game was against Italy. They were better than us, but we drew and then we ended up beating none other than Italy in the final. We hardly changed anything in between those two matches, although coaches do obviously have to have a bit of flexibility so they can make changes at any given moment.

I think we've got a good idea about how we want to play in relation to the players we've called up, and now it's about putting it into practice.

UEFA.com team reporters
 Ben Gladwell, Italy (@UEFAcomBenG)
Antonio Conte has waited almost two years for this moment – his first knockout game as Italy coach. He may have preferred different opponents to Spain, but the feeling within the camp is that Italy are ready for what promises to be a particularly perilous path to the final without the burden of any excessive expectation from back home. The team spirit is like it was in 2006, when Italy were world champions, and everybody is looking forward to this match without a hint of fear.

Highlights: Italy v Spain down the years

Graham Hunter, Spain (@BumperGraham)
Convincing and enjoyable in their first two Group D games, Spain stuttered badly against Croatia. So will this be the Spain of all those 'we can't beat Italy whether we're better than them or not' years or the side who signalled their glory days with a nerve-shredding win over the Azzurri in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals? Objectively, the European champions have the more talented XI and no injury problems. Starkly – either Spain's golden era continues into a quarter-final here or ends at the hands of the same team against whom it began. How poetic.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)

Did you know?
Spain had not defeated Italy in a competitive match in 74 years until they edged the Azzurri on penalties in the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals. Find out more in our match background.

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