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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2Liverpool1393132141830
3Manchester CityMan City1393129121730
4Arsenal1384128131528
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs136611910924
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd135531815320
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19Swansea CitySwansea132381626-109
20Sunderland132291223-118