Bonucci on Italy vs. Spain: “We’ll need to run hard and be clinical to cause an upset”

With just two days to go until the match against Spain, the Italy national team continues to work at the National Training Centre in Coverciano and will be back on the training pitch this afternoon to prepare for the clash with La Roja. This morning, the whole squad trained including Alessio Romagnoli. The AC Milan defender underwent a few fitness checks yesterday but completed the entire session and is available to Gian Piero Ventura. Deprived of Chiellini through suspension, the Azzurri coach will be able to count on the experience of Leonardo Bonucci on Thursday. The centre back was amongst the most impressive performers when Italy beat Spain in the round of 16 at the European Championships in France. “We're playing a different team”, warned the Juventus defender at today's press conference as he expanded on the ideas put forward yesterday by Ventura, “they will be more motivated, in better psychological and physical condition and they'll want revenge for the defeat at the Euros. They're the group favourites. They can pick some of the world's best players in every part of the pitch and, if we're to cause an upset, we'll have to play a hard-running game like we did in Paris and be clinical in front of goal.” The Juventus Stadium will very probably be full and the support of the crowd could be an extra weapon for Italy: “It's a stadium that always gives me a particular emotion. I feel it's my stadium and it gives me extra energy. It's not a decisive game, but it is certainly an important match for evaluating our qualities. We have to bring a bit more to the party than we did against Israel in order to avoid complicating our path towards Russia 2018.” Bonucci was clearly emotional when speaking about his recent difficult period at a personal level: “What I've been through in the last two months has made me stronger. I thank my son and my wife. There were difficult moments but we fought together. There are times in life that make you grow up and they show you the true importance of things. There are more important things than a misplaced pass. When you're right in the head and the heart, you can confront anything.” The Bianconeri defender was then asked about the differences between Conte and Ventura: “Conte is more meticulous and motivational, but the footballing styles are similar. Both prepare virtually every game based on the opponents' weaknesses”. Speaking of opponents, Bonucci will find himself up against Morata on Thursday, just a few months after parting ways at Juventus: “It will be nice to see Alvaro. In a couple of years' time, he will be one of the best forwards in the world. He will be difficult to mark, but I'll give everything, just like the rest of the team, so that we can take on a Spain side that will arrive in Turin with the right amount of confidence, but also the right amount of humility”. On Thursday, the task of replacing Chiellini will probably fall to Romagnoli, who seems to have got over the thigh strain he picked up the day before AC Milan vs. Sassuolo: “Alessio – along with Rugani – will be a rock for the Italy team in the future. Whenever he plays, he knows what to do and which are the best  Squad and Staff list 

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa);
Defenders: Davide Astori (Fiorentina), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Angelo Obinze Ogbonna (West Ham), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan);
Midfielders: Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Antonio Candreva (Inter), Domenico Criscito (Zenit S. Pietroburgo), Matteo Darmian (Manchester United), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Mattia De Sciglio (Milan), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Riccardo Montolivo (Milan), Marco Parolo (Lazio), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint Germain);
Forwards: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Eder Citadin Martins (Inter), Manolo Gabbiadini (Napoli), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Graziano Pellè (Shandong Luneng), Nicola Sansone (Villareal).
Staff Head coach: Gian Piero Ventura; Team Manager: Gabriele Oriali;  Coaches: Salvatore Sullo, Paolo Vanoli and Gianluca Spinelli; Secretary: Mauro Vladovich; Fitness coaches: Alessandro Innocenti and Giovanni Brignardello; Doctors: Enrico Castellacci and Carmine Costabile; Physiotherapists: Fabrizio Scalzi, Emanuele Randelli, Alfonso Casano and Pasquale Raia.

Italy schedule (All times CEST)
Tuesday 4th October

10.30 Training (closed)
13.00 Media can enter
13.30 Presentation of new Italy partner
13.45 Meeting with the press (players)
16.30 Training (Open to the media for the first 20 minutes)
Wednesday 5th October (MD-1)
9.30 Media can enter
10.00 Training (open to the press for the first 20)
17.00 Flight leaves from Florence to Turin
18.00 Arrival in Turin
18.15 Inspection at Juventus Stadium
18.30 Press conference (coach and one player)
Spain programme (Juventus Stadium)
19.00 Press conference (coach and one player)
19.30 Training (Open to the press for the first 15 minutes)
Thursday 6th October (Matchday) 
20.45 ITALY vs. Spain, Juventus Stadium
Players will meet the press after and return to the hotel
Friday 7th October
11.30 Training at Vinovo (Open to accredited media for the first 20 minutes)
Saturday 8th October (MD-1)
10.30 Training at Vinovo (Open to the press for the first 15 minutes)
16.45 Flight leaves Turin for Skopje
18.45 Flight arrives in Skopje 
19.15 Inspect the Arena Phillip II
19.30 Press conference (Coach and one player)
FYR MACEDONIA schedule (Arena Phillip II)
17.00 Press conference (Coach and one player)
17.45 Training (Open to the press for the first 15 minutes)
Sunday 9th October (Matchday)    
20.45 FYR MACEDONIA  vs. ITALY, Arena Philip II
Meetings with the press and return to the hotel after
Monday 10th October
 9.30 Flight leaves Skopje for Milan Malpensa
11.45 Arrive at Milan Malpensa
12.35 Flight leaves for Rome Fiumicino
13.50 Arrive at Rome Fiumicino