Aside from being the only team to have won all three of their games to date, Spain have looked a versatile and well-rounded unit, capable of producing spells of fluid attacking football and of defending with admirable solidity. Those are qualities they will almost certainly need against the ever-combative Italians, a side bristling with competitive intent in every area.
As defender Michelangelo Albertazzi told FIFA.com, the key for the boys in blue is to cut off Spain's supply lines. And if Gli Azzurrini can impose themselves in the midfield, they might just be able to spring a surprise and avenge their recent defeat in the final of the Mediterranean Games.
14 - The number of times that Spain have faced another UEFA side in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The Spaniards have the edge over their continental rivals with six wins, three draws and five defeats in those games, scoring 26 goals and conceding 23 in the process. Italy, who have never met La Roja in the tournament before, have only ever taken on European opposition once, losing 1-0 to Romania at Australia 1981.
"The fact we beat them recently doesn't mean anything. We know each other so well that perhaps the key will be to see who can surprise who. I've got faith in my players and in the strengths that have got us here," Spain coach Luis Milla.
"We're convinced we can beat Spain and keep progressing in this tournament. If we can cut off their possession at source and prevent their playmakers from settling into the game, then we'll have a better chance," Italy defender Michelangelo Albertazzi.