Line-ups: Spain-Italy

Marco Asensio starts as a false 9 for Spain against an ultra-attacking Italy in tonight's crunch qualifier for the 2018 World Cup.

Julen Lopetegui insisted before the game that there would be no surprises in his Spain team, but he has gone with Asensio up top after his prolific start to the season with Real Madrid.

Flanking him are David Silva, La Roja's top goalscorer under the Coach, on the right and Isco on the left. David Villa, meanwhile, is benched on his return to the international fold

Elsewhere, it is 'as you were' in goal and at the back, which means a place for Gerard Pique at the Santiago Bernabeu, while Koke continues alongside Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park.

Italy, on the other hand, line up in a 4-2-4 formation, with Andrea Barzagli replacing the injured Giorgio Chiellini in central defence and Leonardo Spinazzola a surprise starter at left-back.

Ex-Barcelona target Marco Verratti partners Daniele De Rossi in central midfield, supporting Antonio Candreva, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile and man-of-the-moment Andrea Belotti.

Spain drew 1-1 with Italy in the reverse fixture at Juventus' Allianz Stadium last year and have not beaten the Azzurri competitively since thrashing them 4-0 in the Euro 2012 Final.

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Spain: De Gea; Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Iniesta; Silva, Asensio, Isco

Subs: Nacho, Deulofeu, Morata, Saul, Aspas, Kepa, Villa, Reina, Monreal, Azpilicueta, Pedro, Thiago

Italy: Buffon; Darmian, Barzagli, Bonucci, Spinazzola; De Rossi, Verratti; Candreva, Belotti, Immobile, Insigne

Subs: Eder, Bernardeschi, Donnarumma, D'Ambrosio, Pellegrini, Gabbiadini, Perin, El Shaarawy, Parolo, Rugani, Astori, Conti

Referee: Kuipers (NED)

Tags 2018 World Cup Azzurri Italy Spain