Italy–Spain football rivalry
|First meeting||Spain 2–0 Italy|
1920 Summer Olympics
(2 September 1920)
|Latest meeting||Spain 3–0 Italy|
2018 World Cup qualifier
(2 September 2017)
|Next meeting||Italy vs Spain|
2021 UEFA Nations League Finals
(6 October 2021)
|Most wins||Italy (11)|
|All-time series||Italy: 11|
|Largest victory||Italy 7–1 Spain|
1928 Summer Olympics
(4 June 1928)
|Largest goal scoring||Italy 7–1 Spain|
1928 Summer Olympics
(4 June 1928)
The Italy–Spain football rivalry, sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean derby, is a football rivalry between the national football teams of Italy and Spain, the two countries having achieved five FIFA World Cups and four UEFA Euros between them. They have played against each other three times in the World Cup and six times in the UEFA European Championship. Most notably, the two met at the UEFA Euro 2012 Final, which Spain won 4–0. They have also met at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Both Italy and Spain have won 11 of the 37 matches between them (including four at the Olympic Games in the 1920s). Although the two nations are not immediate geographical neighbours, their rivalry at international level is enhanced by the strong performances of the representative clubs in UEFA competitions, in which they are among the leading associations and have each enjoyed spells of dominance. Including the defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, twelve continental finals have been contested between an Italian and a Spanish representative (Spain dominate this with eight victories). The frequent meetings between the clubs have led to the elite players becoming very familiar with one another when they meet at national level. The two nations' Under-21 teams, which are also among the strongest in the world, are also acknowledged as rivals.
List of matches
|1||2 September 1920||Antwerp||1920 Summer Olympics||Spain – Italy||2–0|
|2||9 March 1924||Milan||Friendly||Italy – Spain||0–0|
|3||25 May 1924||Colombes||1924 Summer Olympics||Italy – Spain||1–0|
|4||14 June 1925||Valencia||Friendly||Spain – Italy||1–0|
|5||29 May 1927||Bologna||Italy – Spain||2–0|
|6||22 April 1928||Gijón||Spain – Italy||1–1|
|7||1 June 1928||Amsterdam||1928 Summer Olympics||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|8||4 June 1928||Italy – Spain||7–1|
|9||22 June 1930||Bologna||Friendly||Italy – Spain||2–3|
|10||19 April 1931||Bilbao||Spain – Italy||0–0|
|11||31 May 1934||Florence||1934 World Cup||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|12||1 June 1934||Italy – Spain||1–0|
|13||19 April 1942||Milan||Friendly||Italy – Spain||4–0|
|14||27 March 1949||Madrid||Spain – Italy||1–3|
|15||28 February 1959||Rome||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|16||13 March 1960||Barcelona||Spain – Italy||3–1|
|17||21 February 1970||Madrid||Spain – Italy||2–2|
|18||20 February 1971||Cagliari||Italy – Spain||1–2|
|19||25 January 1978||Madrid||Spain – Italy||2–1|
|20||21 December 1978||Rome||Italy – Spain||1–0|
|21||12 June 1980||Milan||Euro 1980||Italy – Spain||0–0|
|22||14 June 1988||Frankfurt||Euro 1988||Italy – Spain||1–0|
|23||9 July 1994||Foxborough||1994 World Cup||Italy – Spain||2–1|
|24||18 November 1998||Salerno||Friendly||Italy – Spain||2–2|
|25||29 March 2000||Barcelona||Spain – Italy||2–0|
|26||28 April 2004||Genoa||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|27||26 March 2008||Elche||Spain – Italy||1–0|
|28||22 June 2008||Vienna||Euro 2008||Spain – Italy||0–0|
|29||10 August 2011||Bari||Friendly||Italy – Spain||2–1|
|30||10 June 2012||Gdańsk||Euro 2012||Spain – Italy||1–1|
|31||1 July 2012||Kiev||Euro 2012 Final||Spain – Italy||4–0|
|32||27 June 2013||Fortaleza||2013 Confederations Cup||Spain – Italy||0–0|
|33||5 March 2014||Madrid||Friendly||Spain – Italy||1–0|
|34||24 March 2016||Udine||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|35||27 June 2016||Saint-Denis||Euro 2016||Italy – Spain||2–0|
|36||6 October 2016||Turin||2018 World Cup qualification||Italy – Spain||1–1|
|37||2 September 2017||Madrid||Spain – Italy||3–0|
|38||6 October 2021||Milan||2021 UEFA Nations League Finals||Italy – Spain||–|
- (a) Quarter-final ended in a draw after extra time
- (b) Quarter-final replayed after previous draw; Italy won the replay
- (c) Quarter-final ended in a draw after extra time
- (d) Quarter-final replayed after previous draw; Italy won the replay
- (e) Spain advanced in quarter-final 4–2 in penalty shoot-out
- (f) Spain advanced in semi-final 7–6 in penalty shoot-out
Comparison of Italy's and Spain's positions in major international tournaments
|1930 World Cup||DNP||DNP|
|1934 World Cup||1st||5th||Italy and Spain faced off in the quarter-final match which ended 1–1 and was replayed the following day where Italy won 1–0.|
|1938 World Cup||1st||DNP|
|1950 World Cup||7th||4th|
|1954 World Cup||10th||DNP|
|1958 World Cup||DNQ|
|1962 World Cup||9th||13th|
|1966 World Cup||9th||10th|
|1970 World Cup||2nd|
|1974 World Cup||10th|
|1978 World Cup||4th||10th|
|1982 World Cup||1st||12th|
|1986 World Cup||12th||7th|
|Euro 1988||4th||6th||Italy beat Spain 1–0 in their group stage match up; Spain did not advance from the group, while Italy did.|
|1990 World Cup||3rd||10th|
|1994 World Cup||2nd||8th||Italy beat Spain 2–1 in the quarter-finals, eliminating them from the tournament.|
|1998 World Cup||5th||17th|
|2002 World Cup||15th||5th|
|2006 World Cup||1st||9th|
|Euro 2008||8th||1st||In the quarter-final, Italy and Spain were matched up in a goalless draw after 120 minutes in which Spain won 4–2 in a penalty shoot-out, eliminating Italy from the tournament.|
|2010 World Cup||26th|
|Euro 2012||2nd||Italy and Spain were matched up in the group stage, which ended 1–1 and later faced off in the final, in which Spain defeated Italy 4–0.|
|2014 World Cup||22nd||23rd|
|Euro 2016||5th||10th||In the round of 16, Italy defeated Spain 2–0, eliminating them from the tournament.|
|2018 World Cup||DNQ||10th|
Denotes which team finished better in that particular competition
DNQ – Did not qualify
DNP – Did not participate at all
1934 FIFA World Cup
On 31 May, Italy faced Spain in the quarter-final of the 1934 FIFA World Cup, where the two sides drew 1–1 after extra time with Spanish goal by Luis Regueiro in the 30th minute and Italian goal by Giovanni Ferrari in the 44th minute. They then faced off again in the replay match the following day to settle the team that advances; Italy won the replay 1–0 win the goal coming from Giuseppe Meazza in the 11th minute. Italy went on to win their first World Cup title.
|Ferrari 44'||Report||Regueiro 30'|
UEFA Euro 1988
On 14 June, Italy and Spain were matched up for the second match in the group stage, where Italy won 1–0 with the goal coming from Gianluca Vialli in the 73rd minute. Italy went on to win their last group match, while Spain lost theirs; Italy made it out of the group, while Spain did not.
1994 FIFA World Cup
On 9 July, Italy won the quarter-final match up against Spain in the 1994 World Cup 2–1 quarter-final at Foxboro Stadium, with Italian Dino Baggio scoring first in the 25th minute, the Spaniards equalised with a goal from José Luis Caminero in the 58th minute, before Roberto Baggio sealed the Italian victory in the 88th minute. A controversy in the match was Mauro Tassotti's elbow on Spanish player Luis Enrique, but during the match the incident went unpunished – Tassotti was later banned for eight games.
|D. Baggio 25'
R. Baggio 88'
UEFA Euro 2008
On 22 June, Italy and Spain were matched up for a quarter-final in Euro 2008; the game ended a goalless draw after 120 minutes and resulted in a penalty shoot-out which Spain won 4–2. Spain went on to win the European Championship for the second time.
UEFA Euro 2012
On 1 July, Spain and Italy were matched up for the final of Euro 2012. The sides had already met in the group stage, drawing 1–1. Spain took the lead in the 14th minute, though, when Andrés Iniesta played a through-ball to Cesc Fàbregas, who drove past Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini to the by-line before pulling back a cross for David Silva to head into the net from six yards. Chiellini was clearly struggling with a thigh injury he had picked up in the earlier rounds, and he was replaced by Federico Balzaretti after 20 minutes. Italy responded with a couple of shots from Antonio Cassano that were saved by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, but Spain doubled their lead before half-time when Xavi picked out left-back Jordi Alba, who capped a long forward run with a precise finish past Gianluigi Buffon in the Italy goal.
Antonio Di Natale came on for Cassano at half-time and twice went close to scoring, the second effort forcing a save from the onrushing Casillas. Italy's final substitution saw Thiago Motta replace Riccardo Montolivo, but he soon suffered a hamstring injury; with all of their substitutes used, Italy had to play the last 30 minutes of the match with ten men. Fernando Torres replaced Fàbregas with 15 minutes left to play, and scored in the 84th minute – assisted by Xavi – to become the first man to score in two European Championship finals. Torres then turned provider four minutes later, cutting the ball back with the outside of his boot for fellow substitute and Chelsea forward Juan Mata to sweep into an empty net for a final score of 4–0, the widest margin of victory in any European Championship final. Spain became the first team to retain the European Championship title and also the first European team to win three major international competitions in a row.
2013 FIFA Confederations Cup
On 27 June, the semi-final of the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil was contested between Italy and Spain, where after a goalless 120 minutes, Spain won 7–6 in the resulting penalty shoot-out; Italy's Leonardo Bonucci was the only player to miss.
UEFA Euro 2016
On 27 June, Italy and Spain matched up for the round of 16 in the Euro 2016, in a rematch of the previous tournament's final. Italy won 2–0 with goals from Giorgio Chiellini in the 33rd minute and Graziano Pellè in stoppage time of the second half. Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea made several impressive saves to keep Spain in the match, notably on Pellè's first-half header attempt, however, it ultimately ended in defeat, as defending European champions Spain were eliminated from the tournament.
2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying
Italy was not seeded into the first pot, being placed into the second pot due to being in 17th place in the FIFA World Rankings at the time of the group draws; Italy and Spain, from pot one, were drawn together on 25 July 2015. Italy and Spain drew 1–1 in Turin on 6 October 2016, followed by a 3–0 Spain win in Madrid on 2 September 2017, as Spain topped Group G, leaving Italy in second place five points behind. Italy were then required to go through the play-off against Sweden. After a 1–0 aggregate loss to Sweden, on 13 November 2017, Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1958.
|FIFA World Cup||5||2||1||2||5||6|
|UEFA European Championship||6||2||1||3*||4||5|
|FIFA Confederations Cup||1||0||0||1**||0||0|
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- "European teams learn World Cup qualifying fate". UEFA.com. 25 July 2015.
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