UEFA Under 21 Championship Final Preview: Italy v Spain
By Football News
Spain can seal a second consecutive UEFA Under-21 Championship crown when they face Italy in the final in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
The Spanish starlets won the crown in 2011 in Denmark and are aiming to replicate the achievement of the senior side by securing back-to-back European titles, but will have to overcome a strong Italian outfit to do so.
Both sides are unbeaten in the tournament, and have conceded just one goal between them in the eight games they have played so far.
Spain booked their place in the final with a 3-0 win over Norway, Benfica forward Rodrigo giving them the lead before Isco and Alvaro Morata closed the game out.
Morata is the top marksman for Julen Lopetegui's men with four goals in four games, and they will be hoping the Real Madrid forward can continue his fine form against a typically-robust Italian side.
Devis Mangia's side have been excellent in defence throughout the competition, and sealed their spot in the final with a 1-0 triumph over the Netherlands thanks to a late winner from Liverpool striker Fabio Borini.
Bologna's Manolo Gabbiadini is Italy's top scorer, and the 21-year-old will be looking to add to his tally of two goals in four games. However, that is unlikely to be an easy task against a Spain defence that has yet to be breached in Israel.
Barcelona's Marc Bartra and Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez lead the back four, with Manchester United's David de Gea acting as their final line of defence in goal.
Italy hold the record for most victories in the Under-21 Championship, having won the title five times. Spain sit second with three successes to their name and will be hoping to reduce the gap to just one this week.