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European Championship

  • July 1, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • NSK Olimpijs'kyj, Kyiv (Kiev)
  • Referee: Pedro Proença
  • • Attendance: 63170
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Spain - Italy Preview: La Roja looking to make history in Euro 2012 finale

European glory beckons at Kiev's Olympic Stadium on Sunday night as the reigning champions go head-to-head with the Azzurri

  PROBABLE LINE-UPS

SPAIN

Casillas
Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Alonso
Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta

ITALY

Buffon
Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini, Balzaretti
Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi
Montolivo
Balotelli, Cassano

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque is expected to have a fully-fit squad for the Euro 2012 final showdown with Italy.

The 61-year-old's biggest selection dilemma is likely to be over whether to field a recognised striker after Alvaro Negredo's anonymous performance in the semi-final win over Portugal.

With Fernando Torres seemingly out of favour, and with Fernando Llorente yet to make an appearance at the tournament, Cesc Fabregas could be restored to a 'false nine' role up front alongside Andres Iniesta and David Silva.

Italy defender Ignazio Abate, who missed the semi-final win over Germany with a muscle injury, is likely to return to fitness in time for the final, while fellow full-back Christian Maggio is also available after serving a one-match ban.

Coach Cesare Prandelli may persist with the same formation that served him well against the Germans rather than revert to the unorthodox 3-5-2 line-up used in the opening match against Spain.

AC Milan-bound Riccardo Montolivo is likely to keep his place in the team ahead of Thiago Motta after an assured performance in the semi-final.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Spain are bidding to become the first team in history to win three successive major tournaments (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012) and the first to retain the Henri Delaunay trophy.
  • La Roja are contesting their fourth European Championship final (1964, 1984, 2008 and 2012). They have lost just one (1984).
  • Vicente del Bosque's side are 19 competitive games without defeat and have won their last nine knockout matches at major tournaments without conceding a goal.
  • However, the Iberian outfit have not registered a competitive win over Italy in nearly a century (with their penalty shoot-out success in the quarter-final of Euro 2008 classed as a draw). Their record in 11 previous meetings is W1, D5, L5, with the sole victory coming in the sides' first ever encounter at the 1920 Olympic games.
  • Italy are competing in their third European Championship final (1968, 2000, 2012). They have won just one (1968).
  • The Azzurri are facing Spain for the 31st time, with their record in prior encounters reading W10, D12, L8. The sides' most recent meeting was in their opening match in this tournament, which finished as a 1-1 draw.
  • Italy have won just two of their last eight matches in regulation time, but are yet to lose a competitive fixture under Cesare Prandelli.
  • With his double against Germany, Mario Balotelli (pictured right) became the first Italian to score three goals at a single European Championship.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
International Friendlies ‎(FR)‎ Mar 5, 2014 Spain 1 - Italy 0
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World - FIFA Confederations Cup ‎(FCC)‎ Jun 27, 2013 Spain 0 - Italy 0
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European Championship ‎(EC)‎ Jul 1, 2012 Spain 4 - Italy 0
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European Championship ‎(EC)‎ Jun 10, 2012 Spain 1 - Italy 1
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International Friendlies ‎(FR)‎ Aug 10, 2011 Italy 2 - Spain 1
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Last Five Matches
Spain
Jun 23, 2014Australia 0 - Spain 3WC
Jun 18, 2014Spain 0 - Chile 2WC
Jun 13, 2014Spain 1 - Netherlands 5WC
Jun 7, 2014El Salvador 0 - Spain 2FR
May 30, 2014Spain 2 - Bolivia 0FR
Italy
Jun 24, 2014Italy 0 - Uruguay 1WC
Jun 20, 2014Italy 0 - Costa Rica 1WC
Jun 14, 2014England 1 - Italy 2WC
Jun 4, 2014Italy 1 - Luxembourg 1FR
May 31, 2014Italy 0 - Ireland 0FR
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
3PiquéDefender
15Sergio RamosDefender
-Arbeloa
18Jordi AlbaDefender
6Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
8XaviMidfielder
10Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
21David SilvaMidfielder
-Víctor Valdés
23Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
2Raúl Albiol Defender
-Javi MartínezMidfielder
5JuanfranMidfielder
20Santi CazorlaMidfielder
-Jesús Navas González
11PedroStriker
9Fernando TorresStriker
-Negredo
10Juan MataStriker
-Fernando Llorente
Players to Watch
Cesc Fàbregas
Cesc Fàbregas
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
6 2 0 0
Del Bosque's insistence on packing his side with as many playmakers as possible has rendered Spain slow and predictable in possession, with not enough width to stretch the opposition. The 61-year-old could compensate for this by ordering Fabregas to make runs behind the Italian backline as often as possible to drag defenders out of position, thus creating space for Iniesta and Silva to run into.
Andrea Pirlo
Andrea Pirlo
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 21
Games Goals YC RC
6 1 0 0
Italy's outstanding player in the tournament will look to repeat his majestic performance in the opening group match, where he carved open the Spanish defence on multiple occasions only for the forwards to fluff their lines. When a Spanish attack breaks down, Pirlo will look to release the ball quickly, possibly even over the top, and strike before the Spaniards can regroup.
Prediction
So tired did Spain look in the semi-final that it is tempting to declare that this is the perfect time to play them. This is a side that is used to obliterating everything in its way, and they have been reduced to grinding out results, almost as if they were, ironically, an old-fashioned Italian team. The Azzurri may have defied the odds to come this far, but they have all the weapons they need to hurt their opponents on the counter.
Editor's Prediction
Spain 0
Italy 1

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