Team News: Mario Balotelli starts, Fernando Torres misses out

Fernando Torres
© PA Photos
Spain fail to name a recognised striker in their starting XI against Italy while Mario Balotelli starts for the Azzurri.

Spain have opted to play six midfielders and no recognised strikers in their Euro 2012 opener against Italy today.

The decision means that there is no place for Chelsea's Fernando Torres or Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente in the defending champions' starting lineup.

Instead, coach Vincente Del Bosque has chosen to play a midfield of Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, with the latter three expected to provide Spain's main attacking threat.

Italy, meanwhile, will start with Manchester City's Mario Balotelli up front alongside Antonio Cassano.

Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta.
Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, De Rossi, Bonucci, Giaccherni, Marchisio, Pirlo, Thiago Motta, Maggio, Cassano, Balotelli.
Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna Obienza, Balzaretti, Abate, Di Natale, Barzagli, Borini, Montolivo, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Gerard Pique
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3Manchester UnitedMan Utd33006159
4Everton32104227
5Hull City32014226
6Middlesbrough31203215
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs31203215
8Arsenal31116514
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10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom31112204
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14Swansea CitySwansea310224-23
15Southampton302124-22
16Sunderland301235-21
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18Watford301236-31
19Bournemouth301225-31
20Stoke CityStoke301226-41