Italy vs. Spain: 2019 U21 EURO Live Stream, Schedule and Prediction

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 15, 2019

BOLOGNA, ITALY - JUNE 12:  Gianluca Mancini and Moise Kean of Italy chat during a Italy training session at Casteldebole Training Center on June 12, 2019 in Bologna, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Tournament hosts Italy open the 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship against Spain on Sunday and will undergo a test from one of the major title contenders at the first hurdle.

Spain have featured in the final of three of the past four Under-21 European Championships, and the 2017 runners-up will aim to tie all-time record-holders Italy on five under-21 crowns with triumph in 2019.

Both teams were sorted in Group A and will meet for the first time since September 2017, when La Rojita finished as 3-0 victors in what was a fairly routine result.

Italy have a much better-equipped squad this time around, and their encounter against Spain promises to set off fireworks.

     

Date: Sunday, June 21

Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK), Univision Deportes en Vivo (U.S.)

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Preview

Many might consider this fixture to be a fitting final for this year's tournament—which could still materialise—although no one will be complaining about two such talented sides meeting this early.

Italy's squad is stacked with talent and boasts eight players who have already received senior caps—Spain only have four (Dani Ceballos, Fabian Ruiz, Pablo Fornals and Mikel Oyarzabal).

One of the Azzurrini's main prospects is full international Moise Kean, the Juventus forward who has already made waves on the senior circuit and had a major impact on Serie A in the second half of this season:

Federico Chiesa, Nicolo Barella, Nicolo Zaniolo and others each make for exciting assets in their own right, but Kean is the finisher among that bunch and the man destined to one day lead Italy's line.

Spain will be hard-pressed to keep the 19-year-old talisman at bay all night.

WhoScored.com illustrated just how effective he was in front of goal after being drafted into Juve's senior plans in January:

One issue for Italy is that they're without a win in four matches, while Spain have gone unbeaten in six. However, the Azzurrini's last fixtures were in March, and they'll be calling upon a number of talents who didn't feature in those teams.

Luis de la Fuente was appointed Spain coach in July 2018 and has lost once in seven matches. There's little doubt his squad at least has the potential to make it back to another final.

Both of these teams have players who have blurred the lines between the national teams, as observed by journalists James Horncastle and Alex Richards:

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It's worth noting that while Italy have more senior capped players selected, Spain tend to hold their players back from full international honours and have non-capped stars with plenty of promise, such as Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo or Espanyol's Marc Roca.

Italy have won five Under-21 European Championships, but it's been 15 years since their last crown, and a win over Spain could set them on a path to breaking that duck in 2019.

Prediction: Italy 3-2 Spain.

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