Xavi: Italy a mix of Barca and Atletico

Former Spain midfielder Xavi has stated that Italy are playing with elements from both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

The 2008 Euro Player of the Tournament commented on the Azzurri's strengths after they booked a place in the Euro 2016 knockout stages, where they will face La Furia Roja.

"He's [Antonio Conte] applied what he did at Juventus. They defend deep, and are able to play with or without the ball." Xavi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I believe Italy are a mix of Barcelona and Atletico. Even if you switched the entire starting XI you still have that fight. Italy have always been dangerous."

Xavi also commented on the Italian formation, which he believes could pose a threat to the defending champions in what will be a repeat of the Euro 2012 final.

"[Italy's] 3-5-2 formation is tough for a team that wants to press high. When Italy move forward with the ball, they can do so with one of the three defenders or the five midfielders which makes it difficult for Spain to press," he added.

"Playing with two strikers complicates things because that forces both of our central defenders to mark, pushing one of our full-backs up to press Antonio Candreva or Alessandro Florenzi.

"You have to change formation in order to adapt. Chile and Netherlands both used a 3-5-2 against us at the 2014 World Cup and we struggled."