Spain v Italy – Match Preview – Euro 2012 Final – 1 July 2012
Defending champions Spain look for a re-peat as they face Italy in the UEFA Euro 2012 final. The match will take place at the Kiev Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine with kickoff scheduled for 20:45 local time.
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque
“We’ve worked very hard for many years and we’d like victory to crown that work.”
“We cannot look back. Italy have won the World Cup four times; we won EURO four years ago. There’s some history but we have to look to the present. We’ve played similar tournaments: we were in the same group and have both won on penalties. Our style of play is also very similar so there’s not a great difference between the teams.”
“Italy have changed; they started well against us and kept improving so they’re worthy rivals for the final. There’s been a huge change in Italian football in recent years and they will play as they have for the past few matches. If any team had played like them, they would be in the final too; they have deserved it.”
Italy manager Cesar Prandelli
“I really hope we can be positive and take the game to them. Spain’s strength is not only possession, but also the way they win it back. We’ve got to pick our moments and work a numerical superiority in certain areas. We don’t expect to be in charge from the first minute to the last, but we know we can play our own football when the opportunity arises.”
“Even in qualifying we tried to play using the strengths of our players. We’ve risked a little in this approach as it’s a difficult route to take, but we need to continue down the same path because it will eventually bear fruit.”
“I expect the usual Spain: a brave side that keeps the ball but also presses you. They’ve conceded the fewest goals in the tournament and, even when they don’t play with a striker, can always create space.”
“Over the last few years, Spain always seem to come out on top. They’ve shown they’re the best team in the world, played their own way and stayed true to their philosophy. We’ve always said they’re the team to beat.”
Spain are the favorites in this match and will likely cruise to the title if they play up to their potential. Italy have been a bit of a surprise in Euro 2012 and were more impressive during the knockout stage. They’ve played a more attacking style than in recent years and Mario Balotelli is slowly starting to mature (although a red card in the final could happen).
The key will be if Italy can get a goal early in the match to offset the possession of Spain. If the match is 0-0 midway through the second half, Spain will wear down the Italian defense and likely pull away. Italy need a start similar to the Germany match and they are strong enough defensively to hold onto a 1-0 or 2-1 lead.
The match really could go either way as Spain on paper should win the match but Italy are in better form. Both teams will attack and it should be decided before going to extra time or penalty kicks.
Players To Watch
Fernando Torres (Spain) – Spain have struggled to get consistent play from their forwards and Torres has the ability to draw the defense and allow runs from players like Iniesta
Mario Balotelli (Italy) – Italy should create chances against a vulnerable Spain defense and it will be up to Balotelli to convert those chances
Euro 2012 Team Stats
|Goals||Xabi Alonso 2||Mario Balotelli 3|
|Assists||David Silva 3||Andrea Pirlo 2|
|Yellows||Xabi Alonso 2||Mario Balotelli 2|
Spain win – 6/5
Draw (after 90 minutes) – 11/5
Italy win – 5/2