Preview: Italy v Spain

Two of the Euro 2016 favourites will meet in what is unquestionably the tie of the round of 16 when Italy and Spain do battle at Stade de France on Monday.

Both teams will be smarting from unexpected draws in their final matches of the group stages, but it will be La Furia Roja who have the bigger point to prove.

The defending champions were defeated 2-1 by Croatia to surrender top spot in Group D and create the situation where two of the biggest nations in Euro 2016 come up against each other in the first knockout round.

The Azzurri were also beaten in their third group game, 1-0 by the Republic of Ireland, but they went into the clash knowing they would top the Group E and coach Antonio Conte made eight changes to his starting line-up. So while the defeat was not ideal, it also isn't a result that will negatively effect the Italians too much.

Apart from the Ireland tie, Italy's results have been based on a very impressive backline that has conceded just a single goal in the tournament so far.

Spain's front men haven't struggled to find the back of the net in the European Championship, scoring five times in the group stages, and Alvaro Morata is currently top scorer with Wales' Gareth Bale on three goals, but Conte's men will be by far the best organised and hardest to break down defence they have faced so far.

Conte admits his side is going to have a tough time against a strong Spanish squad, but is adamant they will be able to rise to the occasion.

"If we were to play the match on paper, there would be no contest but luckily there's the pitch," he told the Italian FA's website.

"We need to have the same enthusiasm to face a team like Spain that we had when we approached Belgium, who also seemed stronger than us."

Neither team has any suspension or injury concerns ahead of the encounter and will have full squads to choose from.

Morata is likely to continue upfront for Spain, while Italy are expected to make a number of changes from the side that lost to Ireland.

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