Giampiero Ventura says Spain match not decisive
Italy manager Giampiero Ventura describes this week’s Spain clash as “important, but not decisive”.
The Azzurri face Julen Lopetegui’s side on Thursday, a rematch of the Last 16 clash at Euro 2016 which saw Spain defeated 2-0.
“It’s important, but not decisive,” Ventura told reporters in a press conference at Coverciano. “We’re facing the best team in the group. The last game they lost in World Cup qualifying was 23 years ago. They’re a team which has changed in their approach and how they do things on the pitch.
“It’s a different Spain to the past.”
Ventura was also asked about Balotelli’s exclusion from the final squad. The controversial striker, now playing with Nice in France, received a pre-call after his goalscoring exploits, but wasn’t named in the final squad.
“As a player he’s not in question, it’s only the rest that’'s up for discussion. I said that noone would be foreclosed on. The pre-call came because he’s back to playing and scoring, now it takes consistency. If he continues like this it’s ok.
“The pre-call is a signal that the door isn’t closed to anyone.
“Ciro Immobile and Andrea Belotti? They can play together, because they’ve already done so. They’ll definitely play one of the two matches,” said the Italian mentor.
Raheem Sterling in action during the Champions League match between Celtic and Man City last week