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    The Final: Spain v Italy

    What was that fact mentioned in the Ger v Ita thread about the regularity of the final being a repeat of a group game?

    I'm really looking forward to this despite knowing as we all do that finals are usually disappointments. If the game takes off it could be a real clash of styles and philosophies and I just hope Italy find a way to prevent Spain choking the life out of the match.

    Will be interesting to see if they revert to the 3-5-2 of the opening game. I expect them to do so because why have four players at the back with no forward to mark?

    I can't think of a Spain v Italy game without recalling '94 and the Tassotti/Enrique clash. Does the history between the sides and Spain seeming to view Italy as a bogey team through their failure to (properly) beat them at tournaments have any relevance any more?

    #2
    The Final: Spain v Italy

    Considering that both sides had chances to win that opening game, I would be a little surprised if either coach made any major changes from those lineups, especially since Maggio will be back from suspension, allowing Balzaretti to go back to the left and Chiellini to slide into the backline.

    Italy will have to make a change though in that Barzagli was unfit in that first match; however, he's been excellent since then, as has Bonucci and I don't see either of them getting dropped. So that leaves De Rossi, Motta, Marchisio, Pirlo and Montolivo for three central midfield spots.

    I think we'll see De Rossi, Pirlo and Marchisio, although it's possible that Prandelli will feel that they'll need more hands on deck against the nippy Spanish midfielders and brings on Motta for either De Rossi or Marchisio -- I can't see Pirlo being dropped as he's the engine of this Italian side.

    Of course, Prandelli could also stick with the winger-less 4-4-2 and possibly drop Bonucci. This would allow him to keep the midfield that worked so well against England and Germany and with Spain's lack of width, he might be comfortable allowing his fullbacks to play very high up on the attack, with De Rossi dropping into the backline for a temporary 3-5-2 when they have the ball.

    As for Spain, I think we'll see the exact same lineup from the opener. And it will be narrow and turgid. Del Bosque has pulled some surprises in finals before though, with Pedro notably starting in 2010. I wouldn't be shocked to see something similar here, possibly Pedro replacing Silva, who looked like he'd picked up an injury against Portugal and hasn't been very effective in general.

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      #3
      The Final: Spain v Italy

      Beltrano Carpinteiro wrote: I just hope Italy find a way to prevent Spain choking the life out of the match.
      As little as six, maybe five years ago that sentiment would have been inconceivable. How football changes.

      I do think that Spain are secretly dreading facing Italy because, yes, they are very much Nemesis as far as Spain are concerned. Before the 2008 quarter final Marca ran with a front cover shot of Enrique's bleeding face and shouting "ITALY: WE STILL HAVEN'T FORGIVEN THIS." To my knowledge they've never actually eliminated Italy in a tournament in regulation time either.

      Spain would have been happier to face Germany because they would have known Germany have a very attack-oriented game that will by its nature grant Spain opportunities to counter. With Italy it's a different story. Their game is based around stopping you from doing what you do best and they can retain possession almost as well as Spain, at least as well as Portugal, Germany or France.

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        #4
        The Final: Spain v Italy

        Beltrano Carpinteiro wrote: What was that fact mentioned in the Ger v Ita thread about the regularity of the final being a repeat of a group game?
        It's every other tournament since it was first possible in 1984 (1988, 1996, 2004, 2012)

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          #5
          The Final: Spain v Italy

          Does Abate have a chance of being fit for the final?

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            #6
            The Final: Spain v Italy

            a way to prevent Spain choking the life out of the match.
            WAAAAAAHHH! MUUUUM! THEY'RE TOO GOOD! THEY WON'T LET ANYONE ELSE HAVE THE BALL, THEY'RE SPOILING IT! WAAAAHHHH UBLUBLUBLUBLUBLUB

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              #7
              The Final: Spain v Italy

              If Italy end up winning then I don’t think anyone could deny that they would be fully deserving champions. Unlike the 2006 World Cup, where they just happened to be the team that came out on top in what was generally a pretty poor quality tournament, this time round they’ve been the probably the best and most watchable side. And there are literally no rivals to Pirlo for the player of the tournament award.

              However, the increasingly vitriolic backlash against Spain is making me much more keen to see a Spanish triumph than I may otherwise have been. I’ll be happy to see Italy win it, but I’ll be just as happy if Spain do.

              I think what they do is a form of footballing genius, and when it works well it’s beautiful to watch. It’s been criticised as boring throughout this tournament, but I’d argue that that is to a very large degree because opposition teams have worked out the best way to combat them, and therefore they no longer have the same space and freedom that they once had. When they do – as in extra time against Portugal– they can be genuinely exciting and attacking. When they are denied that space by the opposition’s tactics, they just hang on to the ball for as long as they need to, and don’t give their opponents a sniff.

              They have now gone something like 6 years without even conceding a goal – without even conceding a goal – in knockout football. That’s a pretty stunning achievement, and also hugely admirable. This is one of the all time great football teams, and a win on Sunday will cement that. And the fact that so many people have adopted an ABS stance makes me rather hope they do it.

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                #8
                The Final: Spain v Italy

                Hofzinser wrote: And the fact that so many people have adopted an ABS stance makes me rather hope they do it
                Aye, I've been puzzled by this too.

                I suppose now I'm hoping for Italy to win on pens after an interminable 0-0. That way, I share the total goals prize in Sean's prediction competition and can still say we were knocked out by the champion (for the third tourney in a row, fact fans).

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                  #9
                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                  Nesta Makhno wrote:
                  a way to prevent Spain choking the life out of the match.
                  WAAAAAAHHH! MUUUUM! THEY'RE TOO GOOD! THEY WON'T LET ANYONE ELSE HAVE THE BALL, THEY'RE SPOILING IT! WAAAAHHHH UBLUBLUBLUBLUBLUB
                  Yes, silly me wanting an enjoyable, entertaining game. I should just get my slide rule out and anticipate Spain shuttling the ball across the middle third while...

                  ...sorry, dropped off for a minute there.

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                    #10
                    The Final: Spain v Italy

                    The last time the double European and World Champions went into a European final, they lost on penalties. To a famous penalty chip. History to repeat?

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                      #11
                      The Final: Spain v Italy

                      I have said that I wouldn't mind any of the last four winning and I still stick to that. I was worried that the only way Portugal-Spain would be spoiled is if it turned into a niggly dive-fest from both sides and, after a worrying first 30 minutes, it didn't. Similarly, previous Italian teams could keep possession and choke the life out of a game in the same manner that Spain are now being accused of.

                      I am not sure that this one will. Pirlo can't get the space he has had in previous games surely but he is still more than a match for the Spanish midfield playmakers so that should be fascinating. Also, another performance like that from Ballotelli would be excellent. Hopefully, Italy will have seen the Portugal approach of being right up in Spain's faces and repeat it, either being successful or make Spain pull out a performance that they haven't really had to across 90 minutes yet in this tournament.

                      Of course, it could be really cautious and end up 0-0 and decided about penalties but the presence of Ballotelli, Pirlo as well as a shaky Italian defence makes me think and hope not.

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                        #12
                        The Final: Spain v Italy

                        Has there been a major international final before where both captains were keepers?

                        I've been thinking for a while that this is the most goalkeeperascaptaintastic tournament I can ever remember, when you add in Cech and Lloris's leadership of their sides it's a quarter of those in the tournament.

                        It's wrong, of course, keepers shouldn't be captains. I do realise this is a very British, groundless view.

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                          #13
                          The Final: Spain v Italy

                          Curiously the very first tournament game between Spain and Italy in the 1934 World Cup saw both teams then also captained by keepers, Zamora for Spain and Combi for Italy.

                          While there have been a lot of goalkeeper captains this time around, I'm struggling to think who has been the best of the tournament so far. Partly because the strikers have been pretty poor I think this has had a knock-on effect for keepers - some were awful but the rest have all been passable, if unexceptional.

                          I am just about favouring Buffon over Casillas at the moment as they have conceded least goals and have been confidence inspiring when called upon.

                          We have at least a good way of assessing how good the game will be, simply time how long Mr Snoozy Snooze imp stays awake in his bath chair while watching it.

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                            #14
                            The Final: Spain v Italy

                            I'm not bitter about Germany losing, and I wish Italy well; I don't hate Spain, though I'm getting bored with them. But, strangely, I am utterly unexcited about this final. Maybe it's because I neither love nor hate either side; maybe it's ust this thoroughly unexcited tournament; maybe this horrible season has destroyed football for me.

                            I'll watch, but I really don't care if by some circumstances I should miss it.

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                              #15
                              The Final: Spain v Italy

                              Every Euro final I can remember has been like that.

                              It just doesn't have the magic of the World Cup.

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                                #16
                                The Final: Spain v Italy

                                Maybe it is because the final as a fixture could have been played not only earlier in the group stages like this but also in the qualifiers. Previous to the last two WC finals, there were 5 that also had either Argentina or Brazil against a European team which obviously couldn't have in qualifiers

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                                  #17
                                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                                  In different ways, both teams are going for a place in history tomorrow.

                                  If Spain win, they'll have a fair claim to be the greatest international side of all time - certainly the greatest Europe has ever seen. (Obviously there's a good argument that they've achieved this already but this would cement it.)

                                  If Italy win, then, with four World Cups and 2 Euros, it will firmly ensconce them as second only to Brazil in the list of the most successful international teams of all time.

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                                    #18
                                    The Final: Spain v Italy

                                    You are going to get Germany fans (3 World Cups, 3 Euros, many more runners-up spots than Italy), disagreeing with you there, Hof. Maybe a win puts Italy ahead, but if so it's very marginal. Both are well ahead of any other contenders, I'll grant you that.

                                    Hofzinser wrote: They have now gone something like 6 years without even conceding a goal – without even conceding a goal – in knockout football. That’s a pretty stunning achievement, and also hugely admirable. This is one of the all time great football teams, and a win on Sunday will cement that. And the fact that so many people have adopted an ABS stance makes me rather hope they do it.
                                    There is something in that, although the not conceding or ever really looking like doing so is part of the reason why they are boring people.

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                                      #19
                                      The Final: Spain v Italy

                                      No clue what will happen.

                                      I hope both Balotelli (The Walking Id) and Spain can keep it going.

                                      I hope Spain win, because I'm going back to Ferry St and I want to see a party. And I want to see this song played with slicked-back black hair people with Spanish flags jumping up and down.

                                      Does the history between the sides and Spain seeming to view Italy as a bogey team through their failure to (properly) beat them at tournaments have any relevance any more?

                                      For years, Spain denigrated Italy's World Cup wins as the worst that football could offer, and it was better to play beautiful and lose than to win the way Italy won.

                                      I suppose tomorrow, with all of Spain's recent trophies, there will be a lot of history riding.

                                      As far as keepers, this tournament has been in many ways Buffon's masterpiece. 2006 was great for him, especially the final, but this one he really had to take this team and settle them and bring them to the final. Casillas was also great, but like dalliance I have to go with Buffon.

                                      When players start making saves for keepers off the line (like the two in the Germany game,) that's when players want to play for their keeper and do anything because they feel he will do anything for them. It's not a sign of weakness for a keeper, it's a sign of strength.

                                      Another 2008 style 0-0 is probably in the cards, however.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        The Final: Spain v Italy

                                        Gangster Octopus wrote: The last time the double European and World Champions went into a European final, they lost on penalties. To a famous penalty chip. History to repeat?
                                        Seems if it goes to pens both keepers will hold their ground in order to not be burned by a Panenka.

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                                          #21
                                          The Final: Spain v Italy

                                          Hofzinser wrote: If Spain win, they'll have a fair claim to be the greatest international side of all time - certainly the greatest Europe has ever seen. (Obviously there's a good argument that they've achieved this already but this would cement it.)
                                          I would separate the best from the most successful. The opposition has to be taken into account and this is a very weak era. None of the finalists they have faced are close to the standard they used to be and nobody else is going through a golden era either.

                                          The overall standard was higher at the end of the last century when France were a penalty shootout away from achieving what Spain have done so far. West Germany were competing with the best Dutch and Polish teams of all time in the 70's, Spain's biggest challengers are giving Lukas Podolski 100 caps.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            The Final: Spain v Italy

                                            If Spain win, they'll have a fair claim to be the greatest international side of all time - certainly the greatest Europe has ever seen. (Obviously there's a good argument that they've achieved this already but this would cement it.)
                                            That may well be so, but they'd have achieved that success in a time when the quality of international competition is of highest calibre.

                                            Sorry to bang on about Germany in the '70s, but they were one skied Hoeness penalty away from achieving exactly what Spain might achieve tonight. But the did so in an era when the Netherland and Poland had fantastic sides (much better than almost any side we've seen at Euro 2012), and countries like the USSR, Yugoslavia and Sweden had very good sides. I'd argue that even England, Italy and Spain, for all their failures, also had competitive sides.

                                            That is not to take away anything from Spain's accomplishments; it's a way of saying that it's not really possible to make claims of being "the best" ever in most things.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              The Final: Spain v Italy

                                              G.Man wrote:
                                              If Spain win, they'll have a fair claim to be the greatest international side of all time - certainly the greatest Europe has ever seen. (Obviously there's a good argument that they've achieved this already but this would cement it.)
                                              That may well be so, but they'd have achieved that success in a time when the quality of international competition is of highest calibre.
                                              Is there something missing from that sentence?

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                                                #24
                                                The Final: Spain v Italy

                                                Pretty sure he meant to have a not there. It's a similar argument that Berbaslug makes about Barcelona having dominated the club game though. It's true that neither is perhaps at its best, however who is to say that even if they were significantly stronger that Spain and Barcelona would not still dominate anyway.

                                                If there was a zenith in the international game then for me it was 1970. I can't think of another tournament when there were so many nations boasting squads that were right up there among the best in their respective histories.

                                                Brazil, England, West Germany, Uruguay, Soviet Union and Italy were all world class. Peru, Mexico and Rumania were excellent sides too.

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                                                  #25
                                                  The Final: Spain v Italy

                                                  Nesta Makhno wrote:
                                                  a way to prevent Spain choking the life out of the match.
                                                  WAAAAAAHHH! MUUUUM! THEY'RE TOO GOOD! THEY WON'T LET ANYONE ELSE HAVE THE BALL, THEY'RE SPOILING IT! WAAAAHHHH UBLUBLUBLUBLUBLUB
                                                  I'm supporting the team with the cojones to actually play strikers.

                                                  I hope Italy play 3 at the back again, that would cement me wanting Italy to win.

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