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Spain and Italy face final reckoning

Three weeks after they opened their campaigns in Poland and Ukraine with a 1-1 draw in Gdansk, Spain and Italy meet again in the UEFA EURO 2012 final at Kyiv's Olympic Stadium.

Andrea Pirlo takes a free-kick during the sides' matchday one draw
Andrea Pirlo takes a free-kick during the sides' matchday one draw ©AFP/Getty Images

Exactly three weeks after they opened their UEFA EURO 2012 finals campaigns with a 1-1 draw in Gdansk, Spain and Italy meet again in Kyiv for the right to be crowned European champions.

• The matchday one draw means Spain have not won a competitive game against Italy since their very first meeting – though they did edge them out on penalties in the quarter-finals four years ago en route to lifting the trophy for the second time. Vicente del Bosque's side could now become the first team to successfully defend the UEFA European Championship. Italy are in the final for the first time in 12 years as they look to claim a second European crown and their first in 44 years.

Head-to-head record
• Spain's record in 30 games against Italy is W8 D12 L10, but seven of those victories have come in friendly games.

• In the teams' 11 competitive fixtures, Spain's record is W1 D5 L5, including a UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final that Spain won on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes but which is classified as a draw. The sole outright Spanish victory, a 2-0 win, came in the sides' first meeting at the 1920 Olympic Games.

• In FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship finals matches, Spain's record against Italy reads W0 D4 L3 – three of those draws and a loss coming in the continental competition.

• Italy inflicted the joint heaviest defeat in Spain's history during the 1928 Olympics, beating them 7-1 in an Amsterdam replay following a 1-1 quarter-final draw. A 7-1 friendly loss against England on 9 December 1931 matched that margin.

• The sides first met at a UEFA European Championship in 1980, playing out a 0-0 draw. Current La Roja coach Vicente del Bosque, capped 18 times, ended his Spain career at the tournament but did not play against Italy.

• At the 1988 finals, Italy beat Spain 1-0 in the second Group 1 game in Frankfurt thanks to Gianluca Vialli's 73rd-minute goal.

• Italy's most recent competitive victory against Spain came in the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals in Boston, Roberto Baggio's 88th-minute effort securing a 2-1 victory.

Selected previous meetings
10 June 2012: Spain 1-1 Italy (Fàbregas 64; Di Natale 61) – Arena Gdansk, Gdansk, UEFA EURO 2012, group stage
Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, Alba, Alonso, Busquets, Xavi, Silva (Navas 64), Fàbregas (Torres 74), Iniesta.
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, De Rossi, Maggio, Marchisio, Pirlo, Motta (Nocerino 90), Giaccherini, Balotelli (Di Natale 56), Cassano (Giovinco 65).

• Cesc Fàbregas salvaged a draw after Antonio Di Natale's first international goal since June 2010 had put Italy in front.

10 August 2011: Italy 2-1 Spain (Montolivo 11, Aquilani 84; Alonso 37pen) – Stadio San Nicola, Bari, friendly
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Criscito, Maggio, Ranocchia (Bonucci 77), De Rossi (Aquilani 65), Motta (Marchiso 46), Montolivo (Nocerino 74), Pirlo, Cassano (Balotelli 59), Rossi (Pazzini 59).
Spain: Casillas (Valdés 46), Arbeloa, Albiol, Piqué (Busquets 45), Iraola (Villa 46), Cazorla (Mata 80), Javi Martínez, Alonso, Iniesta (Thiago 46), Silva, Torres (Llorente 15).

• In the sides' 19th and most recent friendly, Riccardo Montolivo scored his only goal in 36 senior appearances. He managed three U21 goals, including one in Palencia on 10 October 2006 during a 2-1 play-off victory against a Spain side containing Raúl Albiol and David Silva that took Italy into the finals at their hosts' expense.

22 June 2008: Spain 0-0 Italy (aet, Spain won 4-2 on penalties) – Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna, UEFA EURO 2008, quarter-finals
Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila, Iniesta (Cazorla 59), Senna, Xavi (Fàbregas 60), Silva, Torres (Guïza 85), Villa.
Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Panucci, Chiellini, Grosso, Aquilani (Del Piero 108), De Rossi, Ambrosini, Cassano (Di Natale 75), Perrotta (Camoranesi 58), Toni.

• Roberto Donadoni's Italy were the only side Luis Aragonés's outfit failed to beat at UEFA EURO 2008, though Spain came through on penalties. Iker Casillas saved from Daniele De Rossi and Di Natale, Buffon denying Daniel Guïza. Fàbregas converted the ninth penalty to send Spain into the semi-finals.

Form guide
• The 1-1 draw in Gdansk ended Spain's run of 14 straight competitive victories since they surprisingly lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals. They are now unbeaten in 19 competitive fixtures.

• Spain embarked on a run of ten straight UEFA European Championship victories after their last meeting with Italy in the 2008 quarter-finals. They have gone 28 games without defeat in this competition since losing 2-0 in Sweden in a UEFA EURO 2008 qualifier on 7 October 2006.

• Spain's last defeat at a EURO was a 1-0 loss to hosts Portugal in the 2004 group stage that ended their interest in the competition.

• Italy last lost a competitive game when they went down 3-2 to Slovakia in their last 2010 World Cup finals match – they have since won ten and drawn five. They have gone 18 games without a UEFA European Championship defeat over 90 minutes since losing 3-0 to the Netherlands in their opening match at UEFA EURO 2008.

• This is the fourth time teams who have already played in a UEFA European Championship meet again in the final. In 1988 the Netherlands opened with a 1-0 loss to the USSR  but later beat the same opponents 2-0 to take the trophy; eight years later Germany overcame the Czech Republic 2-0 in the group stage and 2-1 in the final and in 2004 Greece were 2-1 winners against Portugal on the opening day and 1-0 victors in the final.

• Spain's shoot-out record in UEFA European Championships and World Cups is:
5-4 v Denmark, 1984 UEFA European Championship semi-final
4-5 v Belgium, 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final
2-4 v England, EURO '96 quarter-final
3-2 v Republic of Ireland, 2002 FIFA World Cup round of 16
3-5 v South Korea, 2002 FIFA World Cup quarter-final
4-2 v Italy, UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final
4-2 v Portugal, UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final

• Italy's shoot-out record is:
3-4 v Argentina, 1990 FIFA World Cup semi-final
2-3 v Brazil, 1994 FIFA World Cup final
3-4 v France, 1998 FIFA World Cup quarter-final
3-1 v Netherlands, UEFA EURO 2000 semi-final
5-3 v France, 2006 FIFA World Cup final
2-4 v Spain, UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-final
4-2 v England, UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final

Final pedigree
• Spain are in their fourth UEFA European Championship final:
1964: Spain 2-1 USSR (Pereda 6, Marcelino 84; Khusainov 8) – Madrid
1984: France 2-0 Spain (Platini 57, Bellone 90) – Paris
2008: Germany 0-1 Spain (Torres 33) – Vienna

• Italy are in the showpiece for the third time:
1968: Italy 1-1 Yugoslavia, aet (Domenghini 80; Džajić 39) – Rome
Replay Italy 2-0 Yugoslavia (Riva 12, Anastasi 31) – Rome
2000: France 2-1 Italy, aet golden goal (Wiltord 90, Trezeguet 103; Delvecchio 55) – Rotterdam

• Spain were also victorious in the 2010 World Cup on their sole final appearance; Italy claimed the world crown in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 and were beaten in the 1970 and 1994 finals.

• Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Fàbregas, David Silva and Fernando Torres all started Spain's 2008 final triumph, with Xabi Alonso and Santi Cazorla coming on as substitutes. No player has appeared in two victorious finals.

• Italy's Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and substitute De Rossi appeared in the 2006 World Cup final victory. Only 27 players – including Casillas, Ramos, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, Iniesta, Xavi, Fàbregas, Alonso and Torres – have featured in UEFA European Championship and World Cup final wins. Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodríguez and Jesús Navas could also join the club having played in Spain's 2010 World Cup final victory.

• Del Bosque could become only the second coach to win the World Cup and UEFA European Championship, after West Germany's Helmut Schön in 1972 and 1974.

• Chelsea FC pair Torres and Juan Mata could win the European Cup and UEFA European Championship in the same season. Luis Suárez (1964, FC Internazionale Milano and Spain) and Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Barry van Aerle and Gerald Vanenburg (1988, PSV Eindhoven and the Netherlands) are the only players to have achieved the feat.

Team ties
• Silva and Mario Balotelli are team-mates at Manchester City FC.

• Antonio Cassano played at Real Madrid CF from January 2006 to summer 2007, alongside Casillas and Ramos.

• Alonso scored Liverpool FC's equalising goal (converting the rebound after his spot kick had been parried by Dida) in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan which finished 3-3, the Premier League club going on to win the penalty shoot-out. Italy's Pirlo was on the losing side in Istanbul.

• Pirlo and Alonso met again in the final two years later when Milan ran out 2-1 winners in Athens. Pepe Reina started in goal for Liverpool while Álvaro Arbeloa came on as a late substitute.

• Despite scoring a second-leg goal in FC Barcelona's 2002/03 UEFA Champions League quarter-final against a Juventus team featuring Buffon, Xavi was ultimately on the losing side as the Italian side advanced 3-2 on aggregate.

• Xavi was also on target against Italian opposition in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage, scoring the winner in a 3-2 win against Milan at San Siro.

• Iniesta and Antonio Nocerino scored for Barcelona and Milan respectively in the Catalan club's 3-1 victory in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after the goalless first-leg draw at San Siro. Ignazio Abate played for Milan in the same game.

• Fabio Borini and Torres were team-mates at Chelsea between January and March 2011.

• Piqué scored just two goals in official competition while at Manchester United FC between 2004 and 2008, the second of which came in a 1-1 UEFA Champions League group stage draw away to AS Roma on 12 December 2007. De Rossi made a substitute appearance for the hosts.

• Roma's De Rossi and Cassano both found the target against Casillas's Real Madrid on 28 September 2004 but it was not enough to prevent the Italian side losing 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabéu.

• Pirlo's Milan enjoyed a 3-2 win against Casillas and Madrid in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Torres's first senior goal for Spain came in a 1-1 friendly against Italy in Genoa on 28 April 2004.

• Italian international Thiago Motta was born in Brazil and started his European career with Barcelona. He moved to Genoa CFC in 2008 and joined FC Internazionale Milano a year later. Having been in the Barça squad when the UEFA Champions League was won in 2006, he picked up the title again in 2010 with Inter after helping to eliminate Barça in the semi-finals, although he was sent off in the second leg at the Camp Nou.