Saturday June 30 2012
Del Bosque: 'Italy worthy rivals'

Vicente Del Bosque insists Spain and Italy have had “parallel tournaments, so there is not a big difference between the teams.”

La Furia Roja are the reigning World and European Champions, but could become the first nation ever to win three major tournaments in a row.

“Of course it’s the most important match awaiting us. We have worked very hard for many years with the Spanish team and of course we’d like the victory to complete that work,” he said in this evening’s Press conference.

“Italy have changed. They started well against us and kept improving, so they are worthy rivals for the Final.

“The line-up? We’ll see during the training session and the players best suited to the game will play.”

Cesare Prandelli stated in his Press conference that he’ll play with four at the back rather than the 3-5-2 used in their opening encounter.

“We have lots of alternatives and so do Italy. We cannot really say if they will be defensive, as they know how to change and there has been a huge development in Italian football in recent years.

“Even when Italy play with five defenders, they can attack, and that is how they play. I think in the Final they will play the same way they have in recent outings.”

Spain have often used a ‘False Nine’ system with no genuine centre-forward and Del Bosque would not be drawn on his approach.

“We will play with three attackers, that is certain. There are three men in the front responsible for attacking, but the whole team has their own tasks and missions.

“Italy have Andrea Pirlo, Riccardo Montolivo and know how to play football, there’s no doubt about that. If any team had played the way they did in midfield, then they too would be in the Final. Italy have deserved it.

“Xavi is a very good player and can show his talent in unison with the team. He is our playmaker, so he defines our style.”

Del Bosque assured Spain could not be considered the favourites, as their chances in the Final are 50-50.

“We cannot look back and let history influence anything. Italy won the World Cup four times, we won it two years ago, but we are in the present.

“I think we played a parallel tournament, as we were in the same group, going to penalties and our style of play is very similar. I don’t think we can say there is a big difference between the teams.”

People are now saying that Spain are ‘boring’ and coming to the end of their era, whereas Italy’s new chapter is just beginning.

“We cannot stay in the past century, as football is evolving. Of course our team has changed and the players have changed, even though the nucleus of the side is the same.

“We have enough experience and know there will always be debate, especially in a tournament like this. Sometimes it is impossible to convince everyone in this sport.

“What Spain have achieved can be a disadvantage, but we have strong players who know what the sport is about, they know what they are facing and we haven’t lost any team spirit. We integrated young players like Juan Mata, Fernando Llorente and Sergio Busquets, but they all brought new desire to the team and I don’t see anything to suggest otherwise.”

Carles Puyol and David Villa missed the tournament, but will be in Kiev for tomorrow’s Final.

“We are a great team, almost a family, and of course we missed both of them as players and men. It’s great that they are coming here, as they appreciate all the hard work we’ve done and are recovering from their injuries.”

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