ESPAĐIA v ITALIA
Venue - Olympic Stadium, Kiev
Live Streams - http://www.wiziwig.tv/broadcast.php?...78&part=sports
Euro 2012 Final
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque must decide whether to stick with Alvaro Negredo after the striker started the semi-final win over Portugal.
Cesc Fabregas is favourite to start if Del Bosque opts against selecting an out-and-out forward.
Italy's Ignazio Abate should be fit after missing the semi-final against Germany with a hamstring injury.
Strike duo Antonio Cassano (twisted knee) and Mario Balotelli (cramp in the semi-final) are both expected to start.
Midfielder Daniele De Rossi completed 90 minutes against Germany, and appears to have fully recovered from a sciatic nerve problem.
With Abate missing against Germany, Federico Balzaretti shifted from left-back to right-back. If Balzaretti returns to his regular position, Giorgio Chiellini would move inside to centre-back, with Leonardo Bonucci dropping to the bench.
Napoli wing-back Christian Maggio is back from suspension but is likely to be named on the bench.MATCH PREVIEW
"Shameful Italy… One of our ugliest national teams ever… the end of a generation and an illusion... we were champions of the world and now are the laughing stock of the world."The Azzurri's exit to Slovakia at the 2010 World Cup was, Italian newspapers agreed, their biggest humiliation since losing to North Korea at the 1966 tournament.
On that occasion the squad were pelted with rotten tomatoes when they returned home, but just two years later they were crowned European champions. Could history repeat itself on Sunday or will reigning world and European champions Spain break new ground by clinching a third consecutive major title?
Transformed under the refreshing tutelage of Cesare Prandelli, Italy have generated real momentum as they go to Kiev in search of their sixth major title.
In previous rounds the Azzurri took heart from their track record against England and Germany, and it is a similar story against their Mediterranean neighbours. The Spanish did beat them on penalties at Euro 2008, but, excluding shoot-outs, you have to go back to the 1920 Olympics to find Spain's only competitive victory in this fixture; irrelevant ancient history or enough to sow seeds of doubt?
Germany's Miroslav Klose admitted on Thursday "perhaps the fact that we had never beaten Italy was in the back of our minds."
It's a sign of how things have changed that free-scoring Germany are admitting to mental frailties while Spain continue to grind out results relentlessly. The semi-final win against Portugal may not have been their greatest display, but it certainly leaves Vicente del Bosque's side on the verge of greatness. A hat-trick of titles would be unprecedented in the modern era; the strongest competing claim actually belongs to Italy, who won the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, plus Olympic gold in Berlin in 1936.
West Germany are the only other side to reach three successive World Cup or European Championship finals, winning the first two before losing to Antonin Panenka's chipped penalty for Czechoslovakia in 1976.Possible Lineup
LINE-UPS Spain v Italy
Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.
Italy: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano. Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Balzaretti, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
- The only other European Championship meetings were group games in 1980 (a 0-0 draw in Milan), 1988 (a 1-0 win for Italy, courtesy of Gianluca Vialli) and the 1-1 draw earlier at Euro 2012.
- Seven of the last 10 matches between Spain and Italy have been 0-0 at half-time.
- This will be the fourth time that the European Championship final has provided a rematch of a group match. Greece won both encounters against Portugal in 2004, as did Germany versus the Czech Republic in 1996. The Dutch lost to the USSR in the opening game in 1988 but took revenge with victory in the final.
- Spain are unbeaten in 11 European Championship finals matches, a new record. Their last loss in the competition was the 1-0 reverse to Portugal at Euro 2004.
- They have kept nine consecutive clean sheets in knockout games at major tournaments.
- Iker Casillas has had to deal with just one shot on target in Spain's two knockout games at Euro 2012 - that was a free-kick from France's Yohan Cabaye. In total, the Spanish captain has made 12 saves so far - six of them against Italy in the opening game.
- Cesc Fabregas and Santi Cazorla could both make their eighth European Championship appearance as a substitute, which would be a new record.
- The last time Spain failed to win a match after opening the scoring was on 6 September 2006, when they lost 3-2 away to Northern Ireland in a Euro 2008 qualifier despite Xavi netting first.
- Vicente Del Bosque could become only the second coach to win the World Cup and European Championship, after West Germany's Helmut Sch÷n in 1972 and 1974
- The Azzurri have reached the final of eight World Cups or European Championships.
- Italy won their only European Championship in 1968, winning a final replay 2-0 against Yugoslavia at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. The first match, held two days earlier, ended 1-1.
- The Azzurri also reached the final of Euro 2000, losing 2-1 to France, for whom David Trezeguet scored a golden goal.
- Cesare Prandelli's men have won only two of their last eight games (excluding shoot-outs).
- The Italians have been involved in eight goalless draws at European Championship finals - more than any other side.
- Uefa statistics show Italy have attempted 97 shots (including blocked efforts), more than any other side at Euro 2012.
- Spain have won four of seven penalty shoot-outs, including three of their last four.
- Italy's overall record is three wins from eight shoot-outs. They lost their first four but have won three of the subsequent four (beating Netherlands in 2000, France in 2006 and England in 2010, but losing to Spain in 2008).
- There have been 37 shoot-outs at European Championships or World Cups, with 361 spot-kicks taken, 270 of them successful (a 74.8% conversion rate).
- Historically, shoot-outs involve an average of 10 kicks (9.8) - however, recent contests have been briefer. Only one of the last 10 at World Cups and European Championships has seen at least 10 penalties taken.