The two most successful nations in U21 EURO history go head to head in the Krakow semi-final as four-time champions Spain take on five-time winners Italy.
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The two most successful nations in U21 EURO history, Spain and Italy, meet again in Krakow on Tuesday with a place in the 2017 final at stake.
• Spain beat Italy 4-2 in their most recent competitive encounter in the 2013 final in Jerusalem. Thiago Alcántara struck a first-half hat-trick (6 31 38pen) and Isco a second-half penalty (66), while Italy's goals came from Ciro Immobile (10) and Fabio Borini (80).
• The line-ups for that final on 18 June 2013 were:
Italy: Bardi; Donati, Caldirola, Bianchetti, Regini; Florenzi (Saponara 58), Rossi, Verratti (Crimi 76), Insigne; Immobile (Gabbiadini 58), Borini.
Spain: De Gea; Montoya, Bartra, Martínez, Moreno; Illarramendi, Koke (Camacho 86), Thiago; Tello (Muniain 71), Isco; Morata (Rodrigo 80).
• The overall head-to-head record from eight previous competitive matches is three wins for Spain, three for Italy and two draws. One of those draws was a 1-1 scoreline in the 1996 final in Barcelona, with Italy prevailing 4-2 on penalties after Raúl González had cancelled out a Francesco Totti goal.
• The teams also met in the 1986 final, which Spain won 3-0 on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
• Spain won the most recent friendly encounter on 27 March this year in Rome – a 2-1 victory through goals from Saúl Ňíguez (34) and Borja Mayoral (38). Lorenzo Pellegrini (74) was Italy's scorer.
• The line-ups were:
Italy: Scuffet; Ferrari, Biraschi, Madragora (Calabria 58), Masina (Barreca 85); Benassi (Grassi 73), Cataldi (Locatelli 58), Pellegrini (Verre 85); Berardi (Ricci 90+2), Cerri (Favilli 58), Chiesa (Di Francesco 73).
Spain: Pau; Bellerín, Álvarez (González 54), Meré, Jonny; Llorente, Ňíguez; Asensio (Odriozola 86), Suárez, Williams (Oyarzabal 86); Mayoral (Ceballos 72).
• Spain are looking for a fifth European title after previous triumphs in 1986, 1998, 2011 and 2013.
• This is their eighth U21 EURO semi-final and their record at this stage is W6 L1.
• Spain reached the semi-finals as Group B winners, having recorded three successive victories against FYR Macedonia (5-0), Portugal (3-1) and Serbia (1-0).
• Marco Asensio, Dani Ceballos, Rodrigo Hernández, Borja Mayoral, Mikel Merino, Jorge Meré and captain Jesús Vallejo played together in the Spain side that beat France 2-0 in the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2015. Asensio scored both the goals.
• Five other Spain players – Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jonny, Saúl Ňíguez, Denis Suárez and Gerard Deulofeu – have semi-final experience from the same tournament in 2012 when they beat France 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw, Deulofeu scoring twice for the eventual tournament winners.
• Héctor Bellerín, José Gayà and Sandro Ramírez were in the Spain team beaten 2-1 by France in the semi-finals of the U19 EURO in 2013.
• Italy are looking for a first European crown in 13 years. Their five previous successes came in 1992, 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
• For Italy, this is the 11th semi-final at U21 level (W6 L4).
• The Azzurrini qualified for the last four as Group C winners, following a 1-0 defeat of Germany that came in the wake of a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic and an opening 2-0 success against Denmark.
• Manuel Locatelli and Giuseppe Pezzela played in the Italy team that beat England 2-1 in the semi-finals of last year’s UEFA European Under-19 Championship.
Coach and player links
• In his first meeting with Italian opposition, Albert Celades helped Celta Vigo beat Juventus 4-1 (aggregate) in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup fourth round.
• His overall record playing against Italian teams in UEFA club competitions was W2 D2 L2.
• Luigi Di Biagio faced Spain twice in friendly matches as a player with Italy's senior national team – a 2-2 home draw in November 1998 and a 2-0 away defeat in March 2000.
• As a Roma player, Di Biagio scored at Atlético Madrid in a 2-1 defeat during the 1998/99 UEFA Cup. He then helped Internazionale beat Valencia in the quarter-finals of the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League in his final season playing in UEFA club competition. His overall record against Spanish sides in club matches with Roma and Inter was W2 D3 L5.
• Héctor Bellerín and Federico Bernardeschi were unused substitutes when Spain and Italy's senior sides met on 27 June last year in the last 16 at UEFA EURO 2016 – a match the Azzurri won 2-0.
• Deulofeu was a team-mate of Davide Calabria, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Manuel Locatelli when on loan at Milan during the second half of last season.
• Iñaki Williams played against Lorenzo Pellegrini when the Spain forward's Athletic Club beat Pellegrini's Sassuolo 3-2 in a UEFA Europa League group stage fixture last November.
Albert Celades, Spain
A defensive midfielder, Celades enjoyed a decorated 15-year playing career in which he won four Liga titles, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup. Having joined Barcelona aged 14, he debuted under Johan Cruyff in 1995/96; after 101 appearances, he moved to Celta Vigo before becoming one of the few players to cross the Barça-Real Madrid divide, in 2000.
Five years later, after a loan stay with Bordeaux, Celades signed for Zaragoza and he then spent a season in Major League Soccer with New York, where he hung up his boots. In 2013, four years after retiring, he took over Spain's U16s. The U21 job came along when Julen Lopetegui, now in charge of the seniors, left for Porto in 2014.
Luigi Di Biagio, Italy
A product of the Lazio academy, Di Biagio made his name with Zdeněk Zeman's Foggia in the early 1990s before returning to the Italian capital to represent Roma. After four seasons with the Giallorossi, another four with Inter and three with Brescia, the midfielder retired in 2007 following a brief stint with Ascoli. Capped 31 times by Italy, Di Biagio missed the decisive penalty as the Azzurri fell to hosts France in the quarter-finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Two years later, he helped Italy reach the UEFA EURO 2000 final, where they again lost to Les Bleus.
Di Biagio moved into coaching in 2008 at youth level with smaller clubs in Rome. In 2011, he was appointed Italy U20 coach, and in 2013 he was promoted to the U21s. He led the team to the 2015 European U21 Championship, but the Azzurrini failed to reach the knockout stage despite finishing level with eventual champions Sweden in their group.