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Asensio and co. face Donnarumma


Asensio and Ceballos greet optimists from our front cover. There is the air of winners about them, very positive, ahead of the test tonight, at 9pm, against Italy. It's a semi-final. Before this, at 6pm, we have England-Germany. Four national teams that represent World Cup winning countries. This is a good line up for today. It is a pity that Germany has gone to the Confederations Cup without their best 'adults', and have relied on this for the tournament, and that England has been reluctant to put those that have already made the step up to the A team back to the U21s. Neither are in their respective semi-finals with their best potential line-ups but, even so, they have made it here.

Macedonia's defender Darko Velkoski left in the wake of Spain's midfielder Marco Asensio.
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Macedonia's defender Darko Velkoski left in the wake of Spain's midfielder Marco Asensio.MACIEJ GILLERTAFP

Spain face a newly elaborate Italy

But the game that interests us most is the other, the one that pits Spain up against Italy. So far we have done very well. In my view, and at the risk of being somewhat demanding, Spain have had more goals than controlled play so far. This is not a bad thing to say, but when the games get tighter it is better to have control of the matches. Italy arrive with a new air about them in respect of their historical tendancies. Aritz Gabilondo expressed this yesterday by saying: without 'Gatussos' or 'Ambrosinis'. And he cited the names of Gagliardini, Pellegrini and Locatelli as members of the new wave. Players with good feet and with style. As Germany before them, Italy have started to drink from the fountain of elaborate football.

Gianluigi Donnarumma warming up.
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Gianluigi Donnarumma warming up.Stephen PondGetty Images

Donnarumma vs the Spanish attack

And Italy have a goalkeeper making the headlines, Donnarumma, a precocious talent even more extraordinary than Iker Casillas in his day. He is already being wooed by Madrid, angering those of Milan, his current team that hopes to retain him but does not have confidence in doing so. Today we will see him up against the diverse firepower of Spain, who with their headline acts put five past Macedonia and scored three against Portugal. Asensio, Saúl, Sandro, Williams, Deulofeu, Denis Suárez ... The goal scorer list of La Rojita is impressive. Apart from this, it is a match between two greats of the age group: Spain with four titles, Italy with five. It's time to correct that.