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Phil Kitromilides is backing both teams to score in Kiev and has an 18/5 value bet in mind, plus Sportingbet are refunding losing bets if Mario Balotelli nets at any time

They may not have been many people's pick to reach the final before the tournament started, yet few could begrudge Italy their place in Sunday's showpiece.

Cesare Prandelli has managed to add an exciting attacking dimension to their play, and the precise poise of Andrea Pirlo coupled with the boisterous brilliance of Mario Balotelli has won many plaudits. Yet it may be the defensive resolve the Azzurri showed in defeating Germany that will be of particular concern for the Spanish.

This is a far better Italian side than exited the World Cup in the group stages two years ago, and having seen off England and Germany, not to mention holding Spain to a draw in the group stages, the price of 27/10 (3.70) offered by Sportingbet on an Italy win looks tempting.

Conversely, a strong argument could be made for backing La Roja, with the world and European champions still an immense prospect despite not having been at their imperious best.

They have managed to reach the final, though, and the price of 6/5 (2.20)on a Spanish win looks extremely backable; if Spain play to their full capabilities they will be too strong for the Italians.
 
But instead of investing in the outright winner market, the goals market looks tempting and in particular the price of 5/4 (2.25) offered on both teams to score.

Italy have scored in four of the five matches they have played in the tournament, with only their failure coming against the Three Lions.

In Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano they have two forwards who look genuinely threatening. Meantime, Spain's blank against Portugal in the semi-finals was the first time they had failed to score in nine matches.

There have, of course, been concerns over Vicente Del Bosque's persistence with the tactic of playing without a recognised striker, yet even without the likes of Fernando Torres, Spain are capable of scoring from all over the pitch.

Andres Iniesta is due a goal this summer, while Xavi has just enjoyed his best ever scoring season for Barcelona. Cesc Fabregas has shown calm and poise in front of goal with the wide men of Jesus Navas and Pedro both constant threats when they play.

Given the attacking talents on display, coupled with the fact that neither defence has looked overly convincing, both sides will feel capable of scoring, and at 5/4 (2.25) it is certainly worth a look.

This bet paid out in the 1-1 draw they shared in their opening game of the group stages and it looks hard to resist at the price offered by Sportingbet.
 
In terms of a value bet there is one that stands out above all other and that is for the match to be decided on penalties, available at 18/5 (4.60).

Given that two of the four knockout games played by these two sides at Euro 2012 have been settled by a shoot-out, this looks to offer decent value for a small investment.

The last time these two sides met in a knockout match Spain were victorious on penalties back in 2008, and with Euro 2012 seeing its fair share of shoot-outs in the knockout stages, it would be hard to discount another in the final.

Don't forget Sportingbet's offer for the final. Place a first or last goalscorer, correct score or scorecast bet on the Euro 2012 final and if Balotelli scores in 90 minutes, they will refund losing bets as a free bet!


BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Both teams to score at 5/4 (2.25) with Sportingbet
Match to be decided on penalties at 18/5 (4.60) with Sportingbet

Sign up with Sportingbet now for a risk-free 1st bet and double rewards points for winning 1st bets

Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid, you can also follow Phil on Twitter 

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