Andrea Pirlo believes Italy will be out for revenge when they face Spain in the second round of Euro 2016 today.
Italy were thrashed 4-0 by Vicente del Bosque’s side in the 2012 final and, although Pirlo would have liked their reunion to come later on in France, he has backed his compatriots to overcome the reigning champions.
“It is too soon: Spain should have won their group and it could have been a great final, but it gives us a chance to exact revenge,” Pirlo, who controversially missed out on the squad, told reporters.
“I think Spain are more worried about the game. It isn’t easy to play against this Italy.
“They are the favourites because they still play the best football, but we also try to have our say now. It was almost impossible for us at Euro 2012.
“Nobody takes control of a match like Spain, but then your interpretation of good football matters. Is it better to be a solid side or one that entertains? The best is being a side that wins and they are winning everything at club level as well.”
Pirlo feels Italy’s 3-5-2 system could pose problems for Spain, citing Del Bosque’s team’s struggle to break down Czech Republic in their Group D opener.
To’s Paris showdown will be the 35th match between the nations, who have recorded 10 wins apiece.
Meanwhile Koke has conceded that Spain may need to bring “The Red Fury” back into their style of play if they are to retain their European Championship title.
Though Spain became renowned for their attractive passing game – dubbed “tiki taka” – as they won three consecutive major tournaments between 2008 and 2012, they failed to reach the knockout stages at the 2014 World Cup and a 2-1 defeat to Croatia saw them finish second in Group D at Euro 2016.
Prior to that period of success, Spain had been nicknamed “The Red Fury” to signal their fiery on-field tone, and midfielder Koke believes a middle ground between the two styles would boost their hopes of defending their European title.