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Euro 2024 tips: Best bets for Spain v Italy

19 Jun | BY Jamie Griffith | MIN READ TIME |
Euro 2024 tips: Best bets for Spain v Italy

Jamie Griffith's best bets for Thursday's Group B clash in Gelsenkirchen include a win for Spain with their captain opening the scoring.

Both Spain and Italy opened their Euro 2024 with wins, but it is hard to argue there was more to like about the Azzurri’s 2-1 win over Albania than La Roja’s 3-0 rout of Croatia. 

Luis de la Fuente’s side were irresistible in the opening 45 minutes against Vatreni and a repeat of that performance would surely see them beat the defending champions in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday and take the initiative in Group B. 

Best bets

Spain to win /

Fabian Ruiz to score or assist /

Alvaro Morata first goalscorer /

Spain set for Gelsenkirchen glory

Spain will be eager to enact revenge on Italy after the Azzurri prevailed in their semi-final clash three years ago en route to winning Euro 2020. 

Italy were fairly lucky to win that day however, losing the shot count 16-7 and generally being dominated throughout, and recent form suggests that Spain will avenge their wrongdoings from three years ago.

Spain’s midfield three of Rodri, Fabian Ruiz and Pedri is arguably the best at the tournament while they kept Croatia out despite missing their best defender Aymeric Laporte, suggesting an Luciano Spalletti’s side, who could only manage two goals against Albania, may struggle to break them down in Gelsenkirchen. 

Breaking down the Spanish will be one issue for the Azzurri, and stopping them will be another entirely. Spain have netted 16 goals in their last four games and a depleted Italy defence could have some problems against such a dangerous attack. 

La Roja have won 11 of their 15 games under De La Fuente, posting a +32 goal difference in that run, and they should prove too strong for the Italians, who they beat 2-1 just last year. 

Ruiz ready to play his part again

Lamine Yamal grabbed the headlines in Spain’s opening game as he notched an assist while becoming the European Championship’s youngest ever player, but it was his teammate Ruiz who was arguably the player of the match. 

The Paris St-Germain midfielder set up Alvaro Morata for Spain’s first goal before grabbing one of his own just three minutes later. 

Italy’s midfield trio lacks steel, with none of Jorginho, Nicolo Barella or Davide Frattesi offering much defensive presence, so Ruiz could get plenty of opportunities to score or create in Gelsenkirchen. 

He has three goals and nine assists in his 24 Spain appearances and the box-crashing midfielder could add to that exceptional record on Thursday. 

Morata may lead by example once more

Atletico Madrid forward Morata has been seen as somewhat of a comedic figure throughout his career due to his tendency to miss big chances and his continually high transfer fees. 

However, since being named Spain captain by De La Fuente, Morata has shown a real level of consistency. He was brilliant against Croatia, linking up play perfectly and netting the opener, and he could open the scoring again when La Roja face Italy. 

The Spanish skipper has bagged six goals in 11 starts since being appointed captain and given he has netted in two of his last three appearances against the Azzurri, he rates a solid bet to score first in Gelsenkirchen. 

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