Hosts Italy face Spain, Belgium play France in Nations League semis


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters before the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

(Reuters) - Italy have been drawn to face Spain while Belgium will meet France in the last four of the Nations League finals which will be hosted by the Italians next October, UEFA said on Thursday.

The matches will be at San Siro in Milan on Oct. 6 and the Juventus Stadium in Turin a day later, respectively, UEFA said after an Executive Committee meeting via video conference.

The final will take place in Milan on Oct. 10, while the third-place playoff will be held the same day in Turin.

Italy, who topped Nations League Group A1, will face Spain for the first time in a major tournament since they beat them 2-0 in the last-16 of Euro 2016.

Their most recent meeting in a World Cup qualifier saw Spain win 3-0 in Madrid three years ago and they are in form after thrashing Germany 6-0 in Seville en route to topping Group A4.

"Like us, they have a lot of new players and are still putting out a strong team. They have a different style now but are still a technical side," Italy coach Roberto Mancini said.

Spain boss Luis Enrique added: "Italy may look a little like us in that they want to regain the level of yesteryear.

"They're in a period of change. We have time until October to study them and we'll see their strengths and weaknesses."

Group A3 winners France renew their rivalry with Belgium, having beaten them 1-0 in their last meeting at the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia before going on to win the tournament.

Meanwhile, UEFA said the Albanian capital Tirana would host the first final of its new third-tier club competition - the Europa Conference League - in 2022 at the National Arena.

The governing body added Romania and Georgia will co-host the 16-team European Under-21 Championship finals in 2023.

It also said the Executive Committee had decided to remove a ban imposed on Oct. 20 on UEFA competition matches being played in Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia said last month they had signed a deal to end the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region after more than a month of bloodshed.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

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