The last time the Azzurri played, Liechtenstein felt the brunt as Lorenzo Insigne tallied the only score in the first half, but Andrea Belotti, Éder, Federico Bernardeschi and Manolo Gabbiadini put four up in the second to thrash the visitors, 5-0.
Italy and Spain are seven points clear of Albania in group play. The last time they played, the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Turin in October 2016 after Daniele De Rossi scoring on a late penalty.
If the Azzurri want to guarantee their spot in Russia, they will have to knock off Spain as the Spaniards have a plus-4 goal differential over Italy, so a tie would still see Spain through and leave the Italians battling for a place via a play-off.
“They’re the favourites [sic] but we’re not going there as sacrificial lambs, we’re aware that we can do something,” De Rossi told reporters, via ESPN FC.
Spain squeaked by Macedonia, 2-1 in July and knocked off Israel 4-1 in March.
“Personally, it’s a very special match for me, more than others. We’ve played against great squads, but the truth is that this Spain v Italy is different,” said Spain captain Sergio Ramos, via ESPN FC.
The game will be the first since Italy national team coach Giampiero Ventura received a contract extension less than a year after getting the job.
The Italians have lost just once to Spain in their last five meetings. Prior to the 1-1 draw back on October, the Azzurri defeated Spain 2-0 at the Euros last June.
Nerazzurri on the national team include Danilo D’Ambrosio, Antonio Candreva and Roberto Gagliardini.
June 11 — Italy def. Liechtenstein, 5-0 (WCQ)
June 7 — Italy def. Uruguay, 3-0 (Friendly)
May 31 — Italy def. San Marino, 8-0 (Friendly)
March 28 — Italy def. Netherlands, 2-1 (Friendly)
March 24 — Italy def. Albania, 2-0 (WCQ)
June 11 — Spain def. Macedonia, 2-1 (WCQ)
June 7 — Spain draw Columbia, 2-2 (Friendly)
March 28 — Spain def. France 2-0 (Friendly)
March 24 — Spain def. Israel, 4-1 (WCQ)
Nov. 15, 2016 — Spain draw England, 2-2 (Friendly)
Team GP GD Pts.
Spain 6 +18 16
Italy 6 +14 16
Albania 6 -1 9
Israel 6 -3 9
Macedonia 6 -5 3
Liechtenstein 6 -23 0
How to watch
Spain vs. Italy
Time: 2:45 p.m. (ET)
On television: fuboTV, Fox Sports 2, Fox Sports Go, Fox Deportes, Sport 24. Click here for more international television coverage.
On radio: Yes, the game will be broadcast on radio as well. SiriusXM FC will have the game live.