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Italy field five-man midfield against unchanged Spain

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Italy Training - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 26/6/16 - Italy's coach Antonio Conte during a walk around. REUTERS/Darren Staples
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Italy Training - Stade de France, Saint-Denis near Paris, France - 26/6/16 - Italy's coach Antonio Conte during a walk around. REUTERS/Darren Staples

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Italy coach Antonio Conte will field a five-man midfield in a trademark 3-5-2 formation for his team's last-16 clash against champions Spain at Euro 2016 on Monday.

The backbone of the Italy team is the same as in their opening group-stage victories over Belgium and Sweden, with Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini starting in defence.

Central midfielders Daniele De Rossi, Marco Parolo and Emanuele Giaccherini will line up in front of the back three while the striking duties fall to Eder and Graziano Pelle as Lorenzo Insigne starts on the bench.

Alessandro Florenzi is on the right flank with Mattia De Sciglio retaining his spot on the left after being included in the starting team for their last group game against Ireland following Antonio Candreva's injury.

Ten Italy players, including six in the starting line-up, are one booking away from missing the quarter-finals.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque kept faith in the side that started the three previous games, with Alvaro Morata up front supported by David Silva and Nolito.

Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta start in midfield while Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique marshal the defence.

Spain, who thrashed Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final, have not lost against the Azzurri in a competitive game since 1994, when Conte was in the team.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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