Having gone desperately close to beating La Roja in their opening fixture in Group C, the Azzurri are relishing another crack at Vicente del Bosque's sideItaly boss Cesare Prandelli insists that playing reigning champions Spain in the final of Euro 2012 holds no fear for his troops.
La Roja are bidding to become the first side to win three successive international tournaments and many pundits believe that their current era of dominance owes much to their shoot-out success over the Azzurri in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.
However, after recording a draw against Vicente del Bosque's side at the start of the current competition, Prandelli feels that just as Spain took their first step on the path to success against Italy, it could easily come to pass that their journey ends against the same opposition.
|AGAINST THE ODDS
|11/4||Italy are 11/4 with Bet365 to beat Spain in normal time and win Euro 2012.|
"It won't be easy, it's their third final in a row and this means they have great qualities. But we have grown since the start of the tournament and now we really are a team. We were fantastic against Germany [in the semi-finals]."
Prandelli is under contract for another two years and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Giancarlo Abete has already claimed that the former Fiorentina boss will continue until the 2014 World Cup.
However, the coach, who succeeded Marcello Lippi at the helm in 2010, has again indicated that he is seriously considering a return to the club game.
"I will think about my future after Euro 2012," he explained. "The last two months have been very tough."
Prandelli also indicated that he misses the buzz of constant competition.
"It's true that nobody cares about the national team in certain moments," he mused. "We have brought millions of people in the street, but starting from September no one will think about Italy anymore."
Italy's showdown with Spain will get under way at 20:45CET in Kiev.