The Inter Milan duo of Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni were in the Italy starting XI as the European champions suffered a big heartbreak in the quest to preserve their record unbeaten run on the international football scene.
Roberto Mancini is a former Inter Milan manager and he preferred Bastoni to Juventus skipper Giorgio Chiellini at the heart of his defence. Bastoni partnered Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci in defence for the game.
Inter Milan defender Bastoni was able to force his way into the Italy starting XI for the Spain game in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals on Wednesday at the expense of Chiellini. Bonucci and Chiellini are club teammates and they were the first choice central defenders as Italy won the Euro 2020 tournament in the summer.
In the Italian midfield, Mancini opted for the tried, tested and trusted trio of Inter Milan star Nicolo Barella, Chelsea man Jorginho and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) player Marco Veratti. The three players started in midfield when Italy beat Spain on penalties at the same at the Euro 2020 tournament. However, the midfield trio were completely dominated in the latest clash with Spain and this played a big role in the outcome of the game with help from the red card to Bonucci. The Italians were beaten 2-1 at home by Spain thus ending their 37-match unbeaten streak in international football.
Bonucci was sent off on 42 minutes after a second yellow card. Italy were trailing 1-0 thanks to a 17th minute Ferran Torres strike when Bonucci was given his marching orders. Torres made the numerical advantage count for his team by adding a second goal on the stroke of half-time. Second half substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini pulled one back for Italy on 83 minutes and his goal proved to be a mere consolation as the Spanish team recorded an impressive result at the expense of their hosts.