Before Spain can sit in the "Football Olympus" they have to beat Italy & this will be a difficult endeavour. Both sides already know each other as they opened Group C with a 1 - 1 draw result & Italy surprised Spain with their play & ball control. This Italian team has not followed their traditional "defensive" instinct & have played attacking Football with attacking initiative steered by a rejuvenated Pirlo.
Spain on the other hand have been lucky, nothing bad about it, but not as dominant as in the last Euro back in 2008. The Spain Football Team in this competition has sadly missed injured David Villa as it lacks goal fire power & has not been able to finish off their long ball dominating plays with goals. The team is less effective & they look tired with most of their players coming into the tournament with 80+ games from their efforts in their local competition. Said this, it will not be an excuse tonight, a Final breaks all the "theories" & both sides will start with an even 50-50 chance of winning.
|Spain-Italy:Possible starting line-ups:courtesy Sport.es|
In terms of possible starting 11 line-ups, Italy is more predictable than Spain as the Italians have maintained their line-ups throughout the tournament. Spain on the other hand has been experimenting with the idea of starting or not with a Nº9 forward as a reference upfront. Out of their 5 games played Spain have started twice with a true forward ( Torres vs Ireland & Negredo vs Portugal).
Spanish Sports paper "Sport" has made up the above diagram with their speculated possible SPAIN - ITALY starting 11 line-ups for tonight's Euro 2012 Final. "Sport" has been speculating in all the Spanish Euro matches & has not got one right to date, so keep this in mind. The Spanish Sports paper speculates that Spain will start this time with a forward & have put down Fernando Torres.
I personally would not be surprised if Spanish Coach Del Bosque starts with the same team as against Italy in the Group C opener, that is, without a forward & Cesc Fabregas as the now famously coined "false forward". This in my opinion would be a mistake as this tactic failed against Italy & Spain nearly lost. I think tonight may be the night for someone line Fernando Llorente & Pedro to give Italy more defensive chores than attacking opportunities. Said this, I understand that this set up gives Spain less ball control & perhaps this is precisely against the Spanish idea: keeping the ball away & out of the Italian feet until they can find the right moment to score.
Ending, in Football there are thousands of arm-chair Coaches, in Spain 45 million (myself included), & it is difficult to prognosticate. If Spain wins Coach Del Bosque will be a hero & genius, if Spain lose a villain who got it all wrong with his tactical set-ups. That´s Football!
What is a certainty, is that tonight's match & Final is not to be missed & promises to be highly emotional. May the better team win, around 23.00 Spanish time we will know who will be the 2012 European Champion.
OFFICIAL SPAIN STARTING 11 vs ITALY ( 19.10 Sp hour) :Casillas; Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Alonso, Xavi; Iniesta, Silva & Cesc