Italy-Spain a battle of world's best - Llorente


Fernando Llorente has labelled Italy's match against Spain as a showdown between "two of the best teams in the world".

The sides meet on Monday with a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 up for grabs, as Spain seek to defend their European Championship crown.

Sevilla's Llorente, capped 24 times by Spain, lauded the influence of Italy boss Antonio Conte, who was his coach at Juventus, ahead of what he expects to be a thrilling contest.

"These are two of the best teams in the world, even if we have not had much luck over the last few games," Llorente told Marca. "It's going to be an exciting game and I wouldn't miss it for the world. 

"Italy don't have the individuals like Christian Vieri or Francesco Totti now, but still have plenty of talent.

"They have a team of very good players with big determination to win thanks to Conte, who inspires uncommon strength in his men.

"Conte gives his teams solidity, even if they are missing important injured players like Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti.

"They are also without Andrea Pirlo, a magnificent player who has so much quality. You just need to see him in training to realise how spectacular his moves can be."

The game in Paris will be the 35th meeting between the nations, who have recorded 10 wins apiece.