Spain vs. Italy: Prediction, Preview, Date, Live Stream and TV Info

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Spain vs. Italy: Prediction, Preview, Date, Live Stream and TV Info
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

The big kick-off for the 2014 World Cup is only 100 days away, bringing additional importance to a meeting of two of football's great nations, as Italy travel away to face Spain.

Both teams will fancy their chances in the Brazilian summer heat, hoping to add yet another trophy to their museum of honours.

The game takes place at Atletico Madrid's intimidating old-style Calderon stadium and will make for a rapturous atmosphere. The match marks the first game of 2014 for both sides, although they are currently in strange form.

The Spanish lost their last game in November to South Africa 1-0, with the Italians have not won a match in their last four, drawing against Denmark, Armenia, Germany and Nigeria, per BBC Sport.

Here is the vital match information for this game and where you can watch it:

 

When: Wednesday, March 5, at 9 p.m. GMT/ 4 p.m. ET

Where: Vicente Calderon Stadium. Madrid, Spain.

TV Info: Live on Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HD

Live Stream: Sky Go 

 

Key Storylines

Diego Costa to make his debut?

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The game's big pre-match talking point is whether Atletico Madrid's world-class striker Diego Costa will make his debut for Spain.

There is some irony attached that such an event could happen in a stadium that is essentially his home.

Costa made his debut for Brazil in a friendly last March, strangely enough also against Italy, but has controversially decided to switch his allegiances to his adopted country where he plays his club football.

Goal.com quotes Costa saying to Spanish newspaper AS: "I am very happy about the call from [coach Vicente] del Bosque. It is very special for me that the game against Italy is at the Calderon."

Costa is one of the most in-demand strikers in the world and has an outstanding record. He has 26 goals in 30 La Liga and Champions League appearances this season, per WhoScored.com.

If Spain can manage to get the returns from the player that he offers Atletico Madrid, they will have acquired a goal machine that could fire them to victory in Brazil.

But it is questionable whether a player should be allowed to switch the nation he represents, once he has worn the shirt of another country.

Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Of course, Costa had only featured for Brazil in a couple of friendlies, but it leaves the system open to debate. Coach del Bosque said of Costa, per Soccerway:

He's an unusual case, because he had never been called up before and because he was born in Brazil. But he's a player who has been called up on the back of what he has achieved with his club and because we believe that he can help us. That's why we've called him up; for no other reason.

Certainly if Costa impresses against Italy, and then goes on to make an impact in Brazil, he will be a storyline all of his own at the World Cup.

 

Team news

Italy will be missing Roma midfielder Danielle De Rossi. Soccerway reports that the combative player has been left out by the national team after throwing a punch at Mauro Icardi during Saturday's goalless draw with Inter.

Alex Horlock of The Mail Online also provides details on the incident, highlighting that the veteran received a three-match ban. 

Striker Mario Balotelli will be absent with a shoulder problem. However, uncapped Torino striker Ciro Immobile could make his debut.

Will Diego Costa score on his Spain debut?

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Spain have dropped high-profile players Juan Mata and Fernando Torres for the match.

Gerard Brand of The Mail Online claims both players' chances of going to the World Cup could be compromised, but that del Bosque has left the door open for future inclusion. 

Prediction: Spain win 2-1

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