Euro memories still fresh as Spain face World Cup clash in Italy

Spain is in second by virtue of a better goal differential.

Italy are unbeaten in their last 17 home games and if we exclude friendlies they're a remarkable W32-D6-L0 at home since 2000, with 23 clean sheets.

"The first half was bad, but the second was much better - the comeback is in our DNA".

Italy rarely looked like scoring in the first 75 minutes of the match, but were eventually gifted a point by Sergio Ramos. Perhaps one takeaway from this game is the fact that Diego Costa managed to claim his first brace for his adopted country; the Chelsea striker has been in superb form this season for his club, and could be the answer the long standing problem for Spain - replacing David Villa up top.

Spain continued to dominate possession and created a glut of clear-cut chances. The lead was no more than Spain deserved and if anything, another goal looked likelier than an Azzurri equaliser.

Just before the break, Ramos rose highest at the far post to head Koke's cross back across goal, but Pique's headed effort was straight at Buffon from just three yards out.

Italy and Spain shared the points from their qualifier in Turin.

Gianluigi Buffon thinks it will be odd to come up against a Spain side without his long-time rival and opposite number Iker Casillas in the squad.

Buffon rushed out of his area as Vitolo broke clear but completely mistimed his tackle, allowing the forward to go round him and put the ball into an empty net in the 55th minute. "He's not a machine and that can happen". The veteran Spanish defender tripped Eder in the Spain box, and after the referees conferred, a penalty was awarded. With exception of the European Final in Kiev, where Spain won 4-0, there is not usually a lot between these two. "Spain was always favorite but this match showed us that, if we want, we can take control, we can trouble anyone, putting a few things right".

Italy looked to have stolen a late victor, after Andrea Belotti turned the ball home, but the linesman correctly flagged Immobile for offside in the build up.

Finland were inspired in the first half by attacking midfielder Robin Lod of Panathinaikos. That day, when the anthem sounds and the players listen attentively in their signature blue strips, something really does start every four years. I think in the next match we will not see a large number of goals scored, and the outcome of the meeting will be decided by one, maximum of two goals scored. Italy did most of the bruising.

At the upper end of Group D, Austria will need to be wary of the threat posed by Wales in Vienna, and by Gareth Bale in particular, after the dynamic Welshman notched a brace against Moldova in September.

Spain's player applaud fans at the end of a World Cup Group G qualifying soccer match between Italy and Spain, at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016.