SPAIN V ITALY EURO 2012 FINAL - TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
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Current Euro Champions Spain and rival Italy clash tonight in the Euro 2012 Final in a rematch of their Group C opening fixture. That match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Fans are waiting for the Italy and Spain squads to be named.
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli reportedly will not be going back to the 3-5-2 formation he used against Spain last time.
Cesc Fabregas who started against Italy is expected to start again today along with Fernando Torres.
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Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas, Spain
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Spain, defending champions, has plans to attack Italy in the European Championship final tomorrow as Spain coach Vincente del Bosque will name an attacking lineup comprised of three forwards.
Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres have shared the most of the responsibility for Spain's attack in the Euro 2012 clashes.
"We have more of an obligation to attack than to defend because we have players with capabilities to do so," Del Bosque said on Saturday. "Football moves forward and there has been a change of players in the team, but the nucleus remains the same. We're playing the same way we always have."
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has praise for his players.
"A team that has Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Riccardo Montolivo is a team that wants to play football, there's no doubt," Del Bosque said. "It's an open final because we've both followed parallel styles to get here. Our styles of play have been very similar, I don't see much of a difference."
"We have to wait until tomorrow to see what the Italy coach does," said Spain playmaker Xavi Hernandez said. "Italian football isn't what it was two years ago, now they want the ball. They've got a great team and they know how to compete."
"Italy has changed, they've got better as the tournament went on and they deserve to be in the final," Del Bosque said. "We can't think we'll face a defensive Italy because they have never showed that here. They come playing a certain way and I imagine they will maintain it for this last game against us."
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Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo of Italy Celebrate
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Ballotelli who also plays for Manchester City, has now scored three times at Euro 2012 - and is looking to score again the the Euro 2012 Final tomorrow.
"I waited a long time for this moment, especially because my mother came all the way here and I wanted to make her happy," he said after the victory over Germany. "This is the greatest evening of my life, but I hope Sunday will be even better," said the striker, who has a chance to finish as the tournament's top scorer with one more goal.
"For the final my father is coming, too," he added. "So I hope to score"
Defending champions and World Cup holders, Spain are bidding to win a third straight major title and to cement its place as one of the greatest national sides of all time. It would also match Germany's record of winning three European Championship titles.
EURO 2012 FINAL Spain v Italy Tickets 1 Jul 2012 20:00 Olympic Stadium Kiev Kiev, Ukraine
Spain's extra day of rest should go in their favor - while there is some concern about Balotelli caming off in the second half against Germany due to a cramp.
Italy boss, Cesare Prandelli said Spain is the best bet to lift the trophy.
"At the moment, even if I open my eyes, I am still dreaming," Prandelli said after his side's 2-1 victory over Germany in the semifinals, where Balotelli scored both goals.
"Spain remain favorites because of the years of hard work that they have put in. They have been dominant in every game they've played so far."
Spain hasn't lost in a European Championship game in eight years.
Pirlo, Balotelli, and Cassano are leading one of Italy's most agressive squads in recent history.
"We always just tried to play, I think that is our strength," said Prandelli, whose team is bidding to give Italy its second European title, the same number as Spain and France.
"When we started off at this tournament, we were convinced that by working in a certain way we could become a proper team - not just a quality team, but also a team with the right spirit."
Spain has not conceded since that opening draw with Italy and hasn't conceded a goal in nine elimination games at major tournaments.
Spain's attack has featured a rotating cast of forwards, with attacking midfielder Cesc Fabregas and striker Fernando Torres.
"When you send out a substitute who is upset it always makes things more difficult. When you send out a player who is happy and ready to play one minute if that's what's needed, that is very important," said Del Bosque, who has won a European Championship and a World Cup.
Del Bosque admitted that Portugal had not only made Spain look sloppy for over an hour, but had taken his players "to the limit."
"We're proud of what we are doing and of course we hope to achieve what no one else has done before," Del Bosque said, before touching on what victory would mean with an economic crisis back home.
"It would be good for everyone, for Spanish football and for our country."
EURO 2012 FINAL Olympic Stadium Kiev
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EURO 2012 FINAL - SPAIN V ITALY
Mario Balotelli, Italy
Mario Balotelli's first-half double put Italy through to the final of Euro 2012 as they stunned Germany in Warsaw. Cesc Fabregas winning shot put Defending champions star striker Spain through to clash with Italy tomorrow.
Thrilled, Balotelli almost ran to his mother in the stadium in Warsaw after his second goal. Ballotelli was adopted him after he was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants.
Andrea Pirlo, Italy
In addition to Ballotelli, Andrea Pirlo is also a formidable opponent.
Spain’s manager Vicente Del Bosque and Italy’s manager Cesare Prandelli will lead their teams in the EURO 2012 FINAL in Kiev on Sunday.
“When I dream,” Prandelli said, “I always dream fantastic things. We are all fit, mentally and physically. We can’t have any negative thoughts, and we can’t think we’re even a little bit tired. We are ready to be pressed high up the pitch, and we have to work on how we move around to free up a player like Marchisio, De Rossi or Montolivo.”
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Mario Ballotelli, Italy National Team
EURO 2012 ITALY 2-1 GERMANY
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Extending its winless streak against Italy in major tournaments to eight matches, Germany could not stop Balotelli nor Antonio Cassano.
In the 20th minute, Balotelli got past Holger Badstuber to head in a cross from Cassano. Then in the 36th, the 21-year-old striker blasted a long shot past the goalkeeper into the top right corner.
Italy will face defending champion Spain in Sunday’s final in Kyiv, Ukraine — a rematch of their 1-1 draw that opened Group C.
While Italy has won four World Cups, it’s only European Championship title came in 1968.
Cassano set up the opening goal. The second goal by Balotelli went past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who stood immobile.
Balotelli took off his jersey after his second goal, which drew an automatic yellow card, although he will not miss the final.
In the 35th, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon preserved the Azzurri lead by swatting away a long shot from Sami Khedira — and Balotelli doubled the lead a minute later.
To start the second half, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought on Miroslav Klose for Mario Gomez at centre forward and replaced Lukas Podolski with Marco Reus on the wing. Di Natale came on in the 70th after Balotelli went out with a cramp to his left leg.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski.
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano.
EURO 2012 FINAL Olympic Stadium Kiev