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Will Italy prevent Spain making history?

Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 18.03CET
Spain are seeking to become the first country to retain the European title and win a third successive major tournament. Can Italy, orchestrated by Andrea Pirlo, stop them?
 
 
Published: Friday 29 June 2012, 18.03CET

Will Italy prevent Spain making history?

Spain are seeking to become the first country to retain the European title and win a third successive major tournament. Can Italy, orchestrated by Andrea Pirlo, stop them?

So, after 30 matches, UEFA EURO 2012 will conclude in Kyiv on Sunday with a meeting of two teams who went head-to-head in the opening set of group games three weeks ago.

Will Spain become the first nation to retain the Henri Delaunay Cup, and in doing so make history by winning their third successive major tournament, or can Italy match La Roja's record of two continental titles?

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Andrea Pirlo faces up to Sergio Busquets on 10 June

Spain have not conceded in 419 minutes – since Antonio Di Natale gave the Azzurri the lead in Gdansk on 10 June – but whether they can shut out the Balotelli-Cassano partnership, which produced the opening goal against semi-final opponents Germany, for a second time remains to be seen.

At the other end, will Vicente del Bosque keep faith with central striker Álvaro Negredo, whom he gave a surprise start to against Portugal, or revert to playing Cesc Fàbregas as a withdrawn forward, flanked by the creative talents of Andrés Iniesta and David Silva? All this is intriguing, and that is before we even consider the battle for midfield supremacy, contested by Andrea Pirlo and Xavi Hernández et al.

What clues can we garner from the sides' Group C draw, a match which Del Bosque described as "quite balanced" and left Cesare Prandelli equally satisfied? That was Italy's third unbeaten game in succession against Spain (classing their UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final, which went to penalties, as a draw). Can the Azzurri extend that run on Sunday or will Spain claim the silverware at the Olympic Stadium? Let us know your thoughts.

Last updated: 30/06/12 13.17CET

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