Italy vs. Spain: Time, Live Stream and Preview for World Cup 2018 Qualifying

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2016

(l-r) Daniele De Rossi of Italy, David Silva of Spain during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain on June 27, 2016 at the Stade de France in Paris, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Italy and Spain will resume their rivalry on Thursday at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, as the two European heavyweights go head-to-head in Group G for their second 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match.

The Azzurri beat La Roja 2-0 at UEFA Euro 2016 in dominant fashion but lost manager Antonio Conte to Chelsea after the tournament, and new boss Giampiero Ventura faces a big challenge against a surging Spain team.

Spain scored no fewer than eight goals in their opener against Liechtenstein, and they'll be out for revenge in Turin.

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming match:

Date: Thursday, October 6

Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin

Live Stream: ITV Hub (UK), Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.)

  

Preview

(L-R) fan of Spain, fan of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain on June 27, 2016 at the Stade de France in Paris, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Italy used a perfect tactical plan to cruise to a 2-0 win over Spain during Euro 2016, shutting down La Roja's attack and hitting their rivals on the counter with superb long balls.

They'll be gunning for a similar approach on Thursday, but unfortunately for Ventura, he'll have to make do without one of his best defenders and a key component of the three-man back line that was so dominant during Euro 2016.

(l-r) Cesc Fabregas of Spain, Marco Parolo of Italy during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain on June 27, 2016 at the Stade de France in Paris, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Giorgio Chiellini was sent off in the win over Israel and will be suspended, which is a major blow for the Italians. The Juventus man has been in dreadful form to start the season, but he still would have been an automatic starter. Team-mate Daniele Rugani is injured, and Milan's Alessio Romagnoli is also working his way back to health, so depth is an issue.

Per the team's official Twitter account, Leonardo Bonucci believes La Roja enter the match as favourites:

Spain have called up a good squad featuring in-form striker Diego Costa and the fantastic defensive duo of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique. Manchester City midfielder David Silva has also been in fine form of late, and while Sergio Busquets has somewhat struggled for Barcelona, he remains one of the best holding midfielders in the world.

goalkeeper David De Gea of Spain during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Italy and Spain on June 27, 2016 at the Stade de France in Paris, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Depth is key for La Roja―Arsenal's Hector Bellerin didn't even make the squad, despite his great form, and the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Bartra and Juan Mata were also left at home.

Richard Martin of Reuters (for Yahoo Sports) thinks the team has looked excellent under new manager Julen Lopetegui so far:

The dominant victory in Brussels bore many hallmarks of the Spain teams who won successive European Championships and the World Cup between 2008 and 2012.

Even taking into account the limited qualities of the opposition, Spain's rampant display against Liechtenstein also revealed a renewed hunger in a team that had started to look stale under Del Bosque.

The Italians were far from their best against Israel, and under Ventura, they've yet to put together an inspiring performance. In Andrea Belotti and Nicola Sansone, the Azzurri have two in-form forwards, but they lack the raw attacking talent Spain have.

But Italy have a tendency to reserve their best football for the biggest matches, and their win at Euro 2016 will help in preparation for this match, if it's up to Bonucci:

The biggest question is whether the Italians can cope with Chiellini's absence against a prolific Spain side. The veteran is the perfect defender to use in the physical battles with Costa, and without him, the Chelsea man will find spaces to place his shots.

Prediction: Italy 1-1 Spain

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