Why Fernando Torres must start against Italy in the final

Fernando Torres has been heavily criticized at the Euros this year but El Nino must start up front against Italy if Spain want to win the "Treble"...

Spain face Italy in the showpiece match of the Euro 2012. Who will come out on top? Who will hold their nerve in a penalty shootout (if that happens)? A lot of questions are racing through the mind at the moment. Should Vicente Del Bosque change his tactics or should he change his lineup? Yesterday in a press conference, the Spanish trainer told media that his team would be starting with three forwards. Now the only question in most fans' mind is, should Del Bosque chuck the 4-6-0 and start with Fernando Torres? Is El Nino one of the three forwards?

Three weeks earlier, Spain faced Italy in their first Group C match. Del Bosque had surprised everyone with his lineup as he started with a ‘false nine.’ That system didn’t exactly fail as Italy scored following a defensive error and Fabregas’ equalizer highlighted that the 4-6-0 did work for Spain. However, we must admit that Spain were a little sluggish and lacked penetration and improved greatly once Fernando Torres was brought on. El Nino did miss a couple of easy chances which could have given Spain a massive 3-1 victory in their opening game. Was El Nino the missing piece that time? Torres repaid Del Bosque’s faith in the game against Ireland as he scored two goals but a disappointing outing against Croatia relegated him to the bench again in favour of Fabregas and later on Alvaro Negredo.

Fernando Torres does has a chance at redemption if Del Bosque opts to start with him against Italy in the final. Torres is an experienced striker and has already featured in the Champions League final this year already. Torres had scored the only goal in the Euro 2008 final against Germany. In that tournament also, Torres was slow to rise to the occasion and eventually did in the final. Even in the Champions League final, he was a headache for the Bayern defense when he came on late in the second half and importantly won the corner from which Didider Drogba equalized. Should Del Bosque give the Chelsea striker a chance?

Having Fernando Torres in the starting lineup against Italy would be an advantage. In the first group game, Spain lacked penetration and didn’t have anyone to play off the shoulder of the last defender. One needs a physical presence up front against strong Italian centre backs; who can hold up the ball for a few seconds while allowing his teammates to take up positions nearby. With Torres in the team, Spain have a strong forward who can shrug off defenders and also help out from set pieces. Another advantage would be that wide men Andres Iniesta and David Silva can also try and send in some crosses for Torres. The luxury of a strong forward waiting in the penalty box for crosses wasn’t afforded to the wingers this time around and against Italy, this tactic can be of help.

All eyes are on Vicente Del Bosque and his Spain team as they prepare to do something that hasn’t been done before. Will the Spanish head coach start with Fabregas in a 4-6-0 or with Fernando Torres up front? Don’t be surprised if you see one from Pedro, Jesus Navas or Fernando Llorente starting or even Juan Mata! But for us, Fernando Torres can fire Spain to their second successive European glory.

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