Spain v Italy: Euro 2012 final preview

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UEFA Euro 2012 final

Olympic Stadium, Kiev

Sunday, July 1 2012. Kick-off: 1945


Spain have no injury concerns and Vicente Del Bosque will have to decide whether to retain Alvaro Negredo as a lone striker, deploy Cesc Fabregas at the summit of a packed midfield or swap the Sevilla frontman for Fernando Torres.

Negredo was far from effective in the semi-final defeat of Portugal and is likely to lose his place, and Fabregas is the favourite to replace him.

Italy, meanwhile, have worries over the fitness of Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli, but both are expected to start against the reigning European champions.

Ignazio Abate is fit again after missing the defeat of Germany, and his return is likely to shift Giorgio Chiellini back into the centre of defence.


The view from the Spain camp...

Spain will make history if they can triumph over Italy in Kiev this evening, with victory meaning they will be the only country ever to claim three consecutive international competitions.

La Roja won the European Championships four years ago and followed that with a World Cup win in 2010, but manager Vicente Del Bosque does not believe history makes them favourites for the encounter with Italy.

“We cannot think that history influences anything,” he said.

“We have to look to the present. We have played a parallel tournament to Italy: we were in the same group, we both had to get through a knockout game on penalties and our style of play is similar.

"I don’t think there is a great difference between the two teams.”

The view from the Italy camp...

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli insists his side will not sit behind the ball against Spain, and will favour an attacking approach in the final of Euro 2012.

The Italians upset the odds to topple the much fancied Germans in the semi-final, while earned a deserved draw against Spain in their opening group game.

And Prandelli believes his side have the tools and the nous to go one better against the world champions on this occasion.

"I hope we can be positive and take the game to Spain," he said.

"Our first aim will be to shut down space and win the ball. Where we try to win the ball will depend on us and also how good Spain are.

"For us, it is important to remain focused on our target - close the space in the central midfield.

"Our central midfield has a lot of quality, we can cover a lot of ground and press in that area and we have a great player who can raise the level of the game and can get in the right position - and of course that is Andrea Pirlo."

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