When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
The odds for Spain vs Italy have been provided by the DraftKings sportsbook.
Back a draw between Spain and Italy. Matches between this pair are often tight and that could be the case again on Thursday.
World Cup 2022 started with such promise for Spain. Their 7-0 destruction of Costa Rica on matchday one was the most impressive performance of the tournament up to that point. A subsequent 1-1 draw with Germany saw them safely through to the knockout phase, notwithstanding a shock defeat by Japan a few days later.
But in the round of 16, Spain crashed and burned. They could not find a way past a stubborn Morocco side after 120 minutes of soccer, then lost the penalty shoot-out without converting a single spot-kick.
Spain were the best team on the planet from 2008 to 2012, when they won two European Championships and a World Cup. Since then, their tournament record is distinctly average.
At World Cup 2014 they were the first team out. At Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, they were sent packing in the round of 16. A semi-final showing at Euro 2020 was followed by that elimination at the hands of Morocco in December.
Luis Enrique paid for that defeat with his job. Spain chose a continuity candidate to succeed him, promoting the erstwhile Under-21 manager Luis de la Fuente.
The 61-year-old does not have much of a history as a coach at club level, but he is well respected by the Spanish Football Federation due to his work with various youth sides. Still, this is a big step up for a manager who has never led a team full of high-profile internationals before.
Spain’s squad for the UEFA Nations League Finals is not exactly short of ability. Gavi, one of Barcelona’s precocious teenage talents is absent through injury, but his peer Pedri has been called up alongside the likes of Rodri, Dani Olmo and Ansu Fati. The roster does not lack experience, either: Jordi Alba, Jesus Navas and Nacho are all mid-30s or older.
Italy are officially the best team on the continent on account of their triumph at the last edition of the European Championship two years ago. They beat Spain en route to that trophy, edging them out on penalties in the last four.
Yet despite being the reigning European kings, Italy failed to qualify for a second World Cup in a row. The Azzurri could only finish second to Switzerland in their group, and they then suffered a remarkable loss to North Macedonia in the qualification play-off semi-finals.
The Italian Football Federation decided to keep faith with Roberto Mancini, the manager who masterminded their Euros success in 2021. Italy will now be looking to add another piece of silverware to their collection at the Nations League Finals in the Netherlands.
The best online sportsbooks have them down as underdogs in this semi-final, however. That is in part because they have lost two of their last three matches, going down to Austria and England before a 2-0 victory over Malta.
But the Azzurri are in with a chance. They topped a tough Nations League group ahead of Germany, England and a Hungary team that outperformed all expectations.
There is great excitement about Mateo Retegui, the Argentina-born striker who scored two goals in his first two appearances for the country of his grandmother’s birth. And in Marco Verratti, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jorginho, Italy possess a core of players who know what it takes to compete at the highest level.
“We're in the final stage and it's clear that we want to win, like the others, but it won't be easy,” Mancini said in the build-up to the Finals.
Given that Spain are in transition and being led by a coach on whom the jury is out, Italy look overpriced. However, the best option for this game is probably a draw at an attractive price of +220.
Matches between these two sides tend to be tight. The overall record reads: 13 Spain wins, 12 draws, 10 Italy wins. No fewer than three of their last six head-to-head clashes have finished with the scores level after 120 minutes.
What is more, neither team will be operating at full capacity. National teams in Europe have not played competitively since March, so it could take both sides a while to get into their rhythm. That increases the chances of this being a close encounter.
It would not be a surprise if extra time - or even penalties - was required to decide a winner. The victor in the first semi, Netherlands vs Croatia, will no doubt hope this one goes the distance ahead of the final at the weekend.
Betting on the draw is an option often avoided by sports bettors, but on this occasion at least we reckon it is the way to go. This tie might not be settled after 90 minutes.
Free play options
Special contests for newbies
Bet $5 Get $200 in Bonus Bets
21+ | Terms and conditions apply
Wide range of betting options
Top notch customer service
Promo Code 'SPORTS'
$500 Free Bet
21+ | VA only | Gambling problem? Call 1-800-532-3500
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.