Vicente Del Bosque has opted for the Barcelona midfielder in place of the Chelsea man, to play alongside David Silva and Andres Iniesta in the front-three.
Elsewhere, the team is unchanged from the one that beat Portugal in the semifinal. Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets make up the midfield triumvirate. While the back five has Iker Casillas in goal, Alvaro Arbeloa and Jordi Alba at fullback, and Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique at center back.
For Italy, the team makes just one chance from the starting XI that beat Germany in their semifinal. Ignazio Abate has recovered sufficiently from a hamstring injury to replace Federico Balzaretti at right back.
The Milan defender will join Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini at the back, with Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo making up a midfield three.
Just in behind the strikers is Riccardo Montolivo, and he will look to support Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli up front.
Spain (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Busquets; Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva
Subs: Valdes, Reina, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente
Italy (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio; Montolivo; Cassano, Balotelli
Subs: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ogbonna, Balzaretti, Thiago Motta, Giaccherini, Giovinco, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Diamanti
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