Spain have no regrets about ‘helping’ Italy out of Group C ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2012 Final between the two nations.
The Azzurri would have been sent home in the tournament had Spain drawn 1-1 or 2-2 with Croatia in their final group game. Instead, the reigning champions won 1-0.
“We have never have regretted not drawing with Croatia to eliminate Italy,” boss Vicente Del Bosque told Radio Marca. “That wouldn’t have been good for sport.
“Italy and ourselves have lived parallel lives and now we have to be at the level that a Final demands.
“When we played Italy in the first game, Antonio Cassano told my assistant Toni Grande that we could meet up in the Final again and here we are.”
The earlier meeting at the championship between the nations ended in a 1-1 draw after the Azzurri fielded a 3-5-2 and Spain opted against playing a recognised striker.
“The fact that we played each other in the group stages doesn't condition the game at all,” the tactician added.
“They are a team with a lot of experience and are based around Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi in the centre of the field. Their axis is the connection between Pirlo and Mario Balotelli.
“In the game in the group stages they were possibly superior to us in the first half. They were the team that gave us most problems.”
Spain will start the match as the fancied side, but Del Bosque has underlined that the match will have to be won on the field of play.
“Italy have won the World Cup four times so we cannot speak of favourites,” he commented. “It is a Final and it is 50-50.”