Italy vs Spain: Complete head-to-head record

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With a combined five World Cups and four European Championships, Italy and Spain are two of the biggest names in international football.

So whenever they come up against one another, the world stands up and takes notice.

Their storied history stretches all the way back to the 1920s, and their record stands on a knife-edge, with 12 wins apiece in nearly 100 years of competing at the very top.

Something has to give when they face off in the Euro 2020 semi-finals this week, so we’ve taken a look back at each of their 33 previous meetings.

The management game was a bit different back in the 1920s, and it would be years later before Vittorio Pozzo took over the Italy team on a permanent basis. But he was in charge for the first ever meeting with Spain, a 0-0 friendly draw in Milan.

The two sides then met a little over a year later, as Fernando Gutierrez’s Spain team ran out 1-0 winners in Valencia. Juan Errazquin, who later became Spain’s youngest competitive goalscorer at 19, found the only goal.

Bologna’s historic Stadio Littoriale, later renamed after Bologna president Renato Dall’Ara, then played host to a comfortable 2-0 Italy win.

This friendly in 1928 was notable for Italy as Julio Libonatti, the first South American born player to represent them, fired in the equalising goal after Real Madrid’s Felix Quesada had opened for Spain.

Neither Spain nor Italy entered the first ever World Cup in 1930, but both were beginning to establish themselves as top teams on the international scene.

They played out this thriller in Bologna, as Spain came from behind twice to win despite Rafaelle Constantino’s double for the hosts.

There was less to write about in their meeting a year later in Bilbao, though the history books suggest legendary Spain keeper Ricardo Zamora had a stormer of a game.

The first ever World Cup meeting between the teams went to a replay after extra-time, as Spain took the fancied Italians all the way.

Luis Regueiro struck first, but Giovanni Ferrari’s strike on the stroke of half-time meant the quarter-final clash needed a second game to settle it.

And because that’s how football rolled back in the 1930s, the replay took place 24 hours later at exactly the same venue.

The two sides were obviously fatigued from a brutal first leg, but eventual champions Italy edged it thanks to Guiseppe Meazza’s early strike.

The next time the two sides met, in a wartime friendly in 1942, Italy were well established as the best team in the world.

Pozzo was now an Italian football legend after leading them to successive World Cup wins, and they asserted their credentials as world champs with a rampant 4-0 victory over their old rivals.

The tide turned at the 1950 World Cup as Spain reached the semis while Italy crashed out at the group stage. But you wouldn’t have predicted that based on this one as Amedeo Amadei fired the Azzurri to a comfortable win.

Both teams were at a low ebb by this point having failed to qualify for the 1958 World Cup, and neither competed at the first European Championships in 1960 either.

They shared the spoils in a friendly with Alfredo Di Stefano striking for Spain in Rome.

Di Stefano was on the scoresheet again 12 months later, and Spain picked up the win on home turf this time. It was Giuseppe Viani’s final match in charge of the Italians.

The 1960s saw Spain and Italy dominate Europe, winning the Euros in 1964 and 1968 respectively, but they avoided facing each other until 1970 in a warmup friendly for the Mexico World Cup.

A sold out Bernabeu watched Spain come back from 2-0 down to earn a draw, with all of the goals coming in the first 25 minutes.

Italy finished as runners-up and Mexico but it was Spain who emerged victorious from their next meeting in Rome, shocking the home crowd in Cagliari with a 2-1 win.

After failing to qualify for the previous two major competitions, Spain were looking good heading into the 1978 World Cup and looked set for a good tournament after a strong victory in Madrid.

But it didn’t quite pan out as expected as they were eliminated at the group stage, while Italy went on to make the semis.

And the Italians reasserted their dominance when Paolo Rossi struck to give them a friendly win in December 1978.

There was plenty of anticipation when Spain were drawn in Italy’s group for the 1980 European Championships. The Spaniards disappointed, however, taking just two points, one of which coming from a drab 0-0 with the hosts in Milan.

Gianluca Vialli was the hero when the sides next met in Frankfurt at Euro 88.

Spain held strong for most of the game against the fancied Italians, but the Sampdoria poacher was on hand to fire in the goal that got Italy on their way to the knockout stage.

It was a fiery one when the two sides met at the 1994 World Cup in the USA, as future Spain boss Luis Enrique was in the wars.

It was eventually Roberto Baggio’s late strike that sealed the quarter-final win for Italy and sent them on their way to the last four.

Pippo Inzaghi announced himself on the international scene when Spain travelled to Salerno shortly after the 1998 World Cup. But his double was cancelled out by Javier de Pedro and a late Raul penalty.

Dino ZoffDino Zoff

Dino Zoff was in charge of Italy / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

The first turn-of-the-century meeting saw Spain run out comfortable 2-0 winners at Camp Nou to set themselves up for Euro 2000 in Belgium and the Netherlands.

It was a meeting of the past and the future at this warmup friendly for Euro 2004.

A fresh-faced Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Spain, as Roberto Baggio said goodbye in what was his final appearance for Italy.

David Villa, Luis GarciaDavid Villa, Luis Garcia

David Villa struck the only goal of the game / Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Euro 2008 was a famous competition for Spain as they won the first of three successive major tournaments. They set the tone for it with a 1-0 victory over the Italians in their final warmup game.

And it was a similarly tight game when they were drawn together in the headline tie of the Euro 2008 round of 16.

This one went all the way to penalties, with Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas eventually stepping up to convert the winner.

Alberto AquilaniAlberto Aquilani

Aquilani scored the winner for Italy / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Spain have dominated much of the modern history of their rivalry, bit it was Italy who came out on top when they met in Bari in 2011. It was a good game for the central midfielders as Riccardo Montolivo, Xabi Alonso and Alberto Aquilani all struck.

Antonio Di Natale, Iker CasillasAntonio Di Natale, Iker Casillas

Di Natale struck first for Italy / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

A new chapter in the old rivalry was written when Spain and Italy were drawn together in the Euro 2012 group stage. They faced in the opening round and it was a cagey one…until Antonio Di Natale found the opener for Italy.

It then exploded into life as Cesc Fabregas struck back immediately, but there was to be no winner.

But there was nothing close about it in the final of the same tournament as Spain humiliated the Italians and reclaimed their European crown.

The alarm bells were ringing when David Silva got things started with a header, and it only got uglier from there as Vincente Del Bosque’s team made history in Kyiv.

Jesus NavasJesus Navas

Jesus Navas celebrates the winning penalty / Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Confederations Cup, remember that?

The competition most famous for Tahiti scoring a goal that one time played host to this 0-0 stalemate in 2013.


Pedro netted the winner in this one / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a forgettable one for both teams. Almost as forgettable as this drab warm-up friendly which was sealed by a second-half strike from Pedro.

Lorenzo Insigne, Emanuele GiaccheriniLorenzo Insigne, Emanuele Giaccherini

Lorenzo Insigne celebrates his opener with Emanuele Giaccherini / Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

These two like a friendly, don’t they?

They faced off in Udine ahead of Euro 2016, and the spoils were shared between the 2012 finalists as Lorenzo Insigne and Aritz Aduriz both struck.

The Italians exacted a measure of revenge for their 2012 humiliation when the teams met again in the round of 16 four years on.

By now it was apparent Spain’s golden age had come and gone, as Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle made sure there was no repeat performance from Kyiv.

Daniele De RossiDaniele De Rossi

De Rossi celebrates his equalising penalty / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Hands were rubbed together all over Europe when Italy and Spain were drawn together in qualifying group G ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

And their first meeting didn’t let down either, as a late Daniele De Rossi penalty rescued a point for Italy and sparked scenes all around the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Isco AlarconIsco Alarcon

Isco was on top form / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

It was a bit of a rout the last time the two teams met, however.

Spain went on to win the group with 28 points out of a possible 30, rounding it out with a thumping 3-0 victory over the Italians – who famously didn’t qualify for the first time since 1958.

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