Belgium take aim at Azzurri
Plagued by injuries to his creative midfielders and without a talisman up front, Italy coach Antonio Conte is banking on a workmanlike team full of energy to outfox Belgium's exciting young forwards when they meet on Monday.
The Euro 2016 Group E match comes ahead of tough encounters against Ireland and Sweden giving neither side much respite should they lose the first game in Lyon.
Once famed for their "catenaccio", a tactical system with an emphasis on a strong defensive unit, Italy come to the tournament with arguably their weakest team for years and conceding goals particularly against top teams.
They face a Belgium side with a talented squad tipped by some to go one better than the golden generation that finished as tournament runners up in 1980.
Despite opening the scoring, the Italians were beaten comfortably 3-1 by Belgium in a November friendly.
In the day's other game, holders Spain's hopes of recreating the atmosphere that led to continental success four years ago has been tested ahead of their Euro 2016 opener with Czech Republic though the players remain confident.
Goalkeeper David De Gea has been dragged into an off-pitch scandal while Spain have also had a troubled build-up on the pitch, leaving the European champions with much to prove in their first Group C match in Toulouse on Monday.
Spain, who will also face Turkey and Croatia in a tricky section, were dominating international football when they became the first side to claim two consecutive European titles by winning Euro 2012 two years after a maiden World Cup win.
But that came to an abrupt end at the 2014 World Cup when they crashed out in the group stage, never recovering from a 5-1 demolition by the Netherlands in their opener, and they have endured some mediocre results ahead of this tournament.
However, forward Pedro says they are more determined to do well after their poor display at the World Cup in Brazil as they chase an unprecedented third European title in a row.
"The mood reminds me of those of four years ago," he told reporters at Spain's headquarters on the Ile de Re on Saturday. "The group have a different mentality, they want to do something great and have a successful tournament."
“We're motivated. Maybe it's because we didn't have a good World Cup and we want to turn that situation around."
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland must somehow silence superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they open their Euro 2016 campaign against Sweden at the Stade de France on Monday.