Spain to play Italy without a striker

Published June 10, 2012

| Reuters

Spain striker Fernando Torres was left on the bench as coach Vicente del Bosque fielded a team without a recognized center forward for the holders' Group C opener against Italy on Sunday.

Attacking midfielders Cesc Fabregas, who has only recently shaken off a hamstring strain, Andres Iniesta and David Silva were all included along with playmaker Xavi, with Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso in the central holding positions.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli handed a surprise debut to Emanuele Giaccherini, likely to play at left wing back, with Daniele De Rossi moving from midfield to a three-man defence.

Prandelli also opted for Thiago Motta in midfield, over Riccardo Montolivo and Antonio Nocerino, with Mario Balotelli as a lone striker and Antonio Cassano playing just behind and expected to help unlock the Spanish defence.

Teams for Sunday's Euro 2012 Group C match between Spain and Italy at the PGE Arena (1600 GMT):

Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 18-Jordi Alba; 16-Sergio Busquets, 14-Xabi Alonso; 8-Xavi, 6-Andres Iniesta, 21-David Silva, 10-Cesc Fabregas

Italy: 1-Gianluigi Buffon; 19-Leonardo Bonucci, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 3-Giorgio Chiellini; 2-Christian Maggio, 8-Claudio Marchisio, 21-Andrea Pirlo, 5-Thiago Motta, 13-Emanuele Giaccherini; 10-Antonio Cassano, 9-Mario Balotelli

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

(Reporting by Iain Rogers and Mark Meadows, editing by Tom Pilcher and Ken Ferris)

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