NEWS
Sunday July 1 2012
Final line-ups: Spain-Italy

Italy have Ignazio Abate back in the starting XI with Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli facing Spain’s ‘False 9’ system in tonight’s Euro 2012 Final.

The two nations come together in Kiev to kick off at 19.45 UK time.

They already played on June 10 in the group phase, Cesc Fabregas wiping out an Antonio Di Natale opener in the 1-1 draw.

At the time, the Azzurri fielded a 3-5-2 formation, but Cesare Prandelli has confirmed the rotating diamond midfield that proved so effective in the knockouts with England and Germany.

Cassano has shaken off a knee injury to partner Balotelli in attack.

The only change from the 2-1 semi-final victory over Germany is Milan right-back Abate returning from injury to complete the four-man defence.

He steps in for Federico Balzaretti and is preferred to Christian Maggio, who had been suspended for the last match.

Spain have caused some controversy with their no-striker system, as some have called it ‘dull’ and lacking in a final product, particularly after the 0-0 semi-final with Portugal.

Vicente Del Bosque had tried using Alvaro Negredo in the last outing, but he was very disappointing, while Fernando Torres is also benched and Fernando Llorente has not been used at all in the tournament.

Instead, Fabregas is again used as the ‘False 9’ flanked by David Silva and Andres Iniesta, the same starting XI that faced Italy on June 10.

Spain have conceded only one goal in Euro 2012 and that was scored by Di Natale in the opening game.

 

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi; Montolivo; Balotelli, Cassano

Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa, Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Xabi Alonso; David Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta

Ref: Proença (Por)

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