Euro 2012 Spain vs Italy Prediction: Italy's crash and burn keeps Spain not boring
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Euro 2012 Spain vs Italy Prediction: Italy's crash and burn keeps Spain not boring

Kiev : Ukraine | Jun 30, 2012 at 3:01 AM PDT
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Euro 2012: Spain v Italy - OLBG.com

Nobody would thought that football fans across the world expect a matchup of Italy vs Spain in the 2012 Euro Championship finals. Azzurri qualified to the Euro quarterfinals when they beat Ireland 2-0 from Group C after Spain also qualified by beating Croatia 1-0 in the same group. Group of death title should have been given to Group C then.

Euro Finals between Italy vs Spain is a rematch game after the two teams met in 1-1 draw earlier in the Group C matchup. Both Fábregas and Di Natale scored a goal each that ended a draw but Spain should have won that game after Fernando Torres misfired his chances to score twice.

Italy chances

Since Mario Balotelli scored a goal in that qualifying game against Ireland, the 21-year old is playing better football like his possessed by some football gods. The re-surging clutch player Balorelli didn't score in that 0-0 draw against England in the quarterfinal round but he delivered the first penalty kick to set the tone for the Italians as they prevailed 4-2 after the shootout. Balotelli carried that momentum against Germany in Thursday Euro semifinal which he brutally teared down the German defense and delivered two goals for the Italians in the first half alone.

The Super Mario has become more and more threatening in attack scoring the last four goals (1 penalty kick) for Italy including two Euro Finals clincher. The Italian striker won't be effective without fantastic wingers like Di Rossi and Cassano.

To have a chance against Spain, Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano will need to use their pace down the wings and spread the pitch. Manager Cesare Prandelli is well aware of Spain’s weakness against the counter attack. The Spanish triangle passing and crowding the middle deeper could cost their tempo when they lose the ball and can leave holes that Italy needs to exploit on counter attack. Set up play and the aerial battle should be won by Italy just like they did to the Germans.

Spain chances

Since Fernando Torres blew up two chances in their 1-1 draw against Italy Group C matchup, the Chelsea striker is doubtful t be given a chance to start nor his disappearing act in semifinal game against Portugal. Yet, Spain has yet to concede a goal but that could be change facing more explosive Italy. You have to give credit to Vicente del Bosque stingy defense scheme. Nevertheless, the Euro and World Cup Champion still struggles since their spark plug David Villa was gone. To get back on track they need a closer of the game which they are still missing and that could be Cesc Fabregas who scored five goals in this tournament. That's why Spain was criticized as boring team by some pundits due to its lack of killer instinct.

Spain will still resort their 4-6-0 formation on crowding the midfield with Fabregas on lead at disposal. Sure Spain will dominate the midfield relying with succinct passing on ball possession to create exhaustion on Italy's part but with their defense intact lead by Pirlo they can survive the Spain's tiki taka.

Spain simply needs to be aggressive on the opposing net keeper if they are to win the Euro Championship Cup second time in a row. Sergio Busquets will have to keep an eye for defensive cover on Italian attacks. Spain Andres Iniesta will continue to provide the spark the Spanish need in the later part of the game.

Euro 2012 Prediction:

Same strategy Spain has been adapted that is to use on synchronize ball possession and one touch football to wear into the Italians but Spain knows the threat of Italy attack now lead by confident Balotelli. That said, Italians need to be careful not to exhaust too quickly and launch their free-flowing attack early as much as possible. Spain is most vulnerable in the opening quarter of the match.

The last time the both side met is just few week ago in the Group C stages, and niether team imposed their will in 1-1 draw. This time however, Spain is a little weaker compared to two-four years ago, while Italy is hungry to win and could ride their crash and burn offense lead Super Mario.

My 2012 Euro Finals Pick: In teaory I might say Italy on 2-1 but just to be fair, Italy 1 – 1 Spain (Italy edge on penalties) is practical.

Goal.com Spain vs Italy prediction: "Both teams are missing some big stars at Euro 2012, but the champions are going into the tournament on a winning streak, even if their last performances have not set the world alight. Meanwhile, Prandelli's men have lost their last three games and failed to score in each of them. If Italy play like they did against Spain last August few can stop them, but which Azzurri side will we see on Sunday? A betting man would probably say one that is not at its best." Spain 1 - 0 Italy

The Euro Finals is set Sunday July 1, 2012 with kick off 19:45 local time/2:45 am ET at Olimpiyskyi in Keiv Ukraine, on showdown between Spain vs Italy.

Probable Lineups

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

ITALY: Buffon, Bonucci, De Rossi, Chiellini Maggio, T. Motta, Pirlo, Marchisio, B'retti Balotelli, Cassano

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Italy's coach Prandelli touches face of player Cassano at training session during Euro 2012 in Gdansk
Italy's coach Prandelli touches face of player Cassano at training session during Euro 2012 in Gdansk
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