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Italy confident they can beat Spain

dpadpa 26/06/2016

Italy coach Antonio Conte says his side will have to be extraordinary if they are to beat Spain and claim a place in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Italy are confident they can beat two-time reigning champions Spain in the last 16 at Euro 2016, but coach Antonio Conte says it will take a superhuman effort.

Conte told a news conference Sunday night that his side will not just sit back when they face Spain at the Stade de France on Monday.

"We are not here to simply show up. We need to do something extraordinary because the ordinary will not be enough. I believe I have the players who can achieve that," Conte said.

Spain beat Italy for the first time at a big event at Euro 2008, in a quarter-final penalty shoot-out.

They drew in the group stage in 2012, but Spain then hammered Italy 4-0 in the final.

Spain beat Italy again on penalties in the semis at the 2013 Confederations Cup.

Italy goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon said Italy were "exhausted physically and mentally" in the 2012 final, but added the other games showed "what we can do and that we can cause bother for the best side in the world".

"Italy are the only side who can make them sweat," the veteran insisted.

Apart from being a rematch of the 2012 final, the game has additional spice because Spain are coming off a surprise 2-1 defeat against Croatia in the group stage.

Italy also lost their last game, 1-0 against Sweden, but Conte fielded several reserves because they had already won their group.

One of the main focuses of the match will be Spain's 23-year-old Alvaro Morata, who played at Italian champions Juventus the last two seasons.

He now faces his former teammates, including almost the entire Italy defence and Buffon, in what he has named "one of the most important matches in my career".

"Morata is still a young man and doesn't even know how good he is. He is gifted as only top stars are. He confirms it by starring and scoring in the most important games," Buffon said.

"Clearly Spain are not Morata alone, but he is a focal point of their attack and based on the goals he has scored, he is their main threat."

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