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Spain will feel pain as Italians try to reign; UEFA EURO 2008 Austria-Switzerland BIG-MATCH ACTION...

Byline: By Ed Casey

ITALY star Gianluca Zambrotta has warned Spain his side will take full advantage of their Euro 2008 scare.

The Azzurri survived a Group of Death experience despite being thrashed 3-0 by Holland and being held 1-1 with Romania.

A2-0 win against France put the world champions through as runners-up to Holland, who would have knocked them out if they had lost their third game against Romania.

Defender Zambrotta is optimistic about Italy's chances against Spain on Sunday and insists their rivals have a history of starting well then floundering.

He said: "Spain are a technical team but leave spaces in defence and we will have to be smart to attack them and hurt them.

"Their history is not good but they are in good form, although they have some flaws."

Spain beat Italy 1-0 last month in an international friendly in Elche courtesy of David Villa's stunning volley but haven't won a competitive game against them since 1920.

In their most recent clash - a quarter-final at the World Cup in 1994 - the Italians won 2-1.

Roberto Donadoni's men have struggled to reproduce the form that won them the World Cup two years ago and gave them top spot in Scotland's qualifying group ahead of France.

Zambrotta, who joined AC Milan from Barcelona earlier this month, is confident his team will hit peak form by the time they step on to the pitch in Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium.

He added: "The important thing is we reacted and didn't make any mistakes. This can only be positive as we are learning from our errors. I am convinced the best is yet to come."

Italy will be without World Cup-winning midfielders Rino Gattuso and Andrea Pirlo, who has been the team's best player in the group games, through suspension.

Having already lost captain Fabio Cannavaro to a serious ankle injury before the tournament, Zambrotta believes Italy can overcome this latest setback.

He said: "We are a united group. This is the strength of our group.

"We will miss Pirlo and Gattuso but we know we have other players who can replace them and can do the job."

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CONFIDENT: Zambrotta
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 19, 2008
Words:362
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