The final day of the Round of 16 is here. And with it comes a big-time showdown that just so happened to be the the final the last time the European Championships were played four years ago.
It's Italy vs. Spain day. It's Álvaro Morata vs. Morata's former Juventus teammates day. So many storylines within the grandiose storyline that involves two of the most-storied footballing nations facing each other once again at a major tournament.
Sounds like a good time, doesn't it?
Well, that's the hope. At least if you're rooting for Italy like a lot of us here will be.
Neither Italy nor Spain are the same kinds of teams they were the last time they played one another at the Euros four years ago. That was a dominant Spanish side with world-class players all over the place that stormed its way to a European championship. Italy's drop in overall talent in the roster is well-documented at this point, and the loss to the Republic of Ireland pretty much confirmed that the depth of this squad certainly ain't what it used to be.
Good thing there's still Gigi Buffon. Good thing there's still Leonardo Bonucci. Good thing there's still Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini. We might not know how the game is going to go, but we definitely know that if Italy want to advance to the quarterfinals, the Juventus quartet at the back are going to need to be big-time performers in the same kind of way they were against Belgium and Sweden.
So what does a certain Antonio Conte has do say about people who say that his Azzurri are underdogs against a Spain side that just so happens to also be coming off a loss in its final group stage game?
#Conte: "Nothing is impossible. Even if you're not fancied, you should still work. Otherwise it's pointless." #ITAESP #Euro2016— Italy (@azzurri) June 26, 2016
Amen to that! So go get 'em, fellas. And let's hope that Juventus' number of players at Euro 2016 isn't suddenly cut in half following the final whistle against Spain this evening.
Italy vs. Spain
Location: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France
Kick-off time: 18:00 CET, 12:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 AM Pacific
Available TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes (United States); RDS, TSN4, TSN5, TSN3, TSN1, RDS (Canada); BBC One UK (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, RAI Uno, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Available online streaming: ESPN3/WatchESPN (United States); BBC iPlayer (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.