Euro 2012’s final between Spain and Italy is set to be an interesting tactical battle, as the sides look to outfox their opponents in the pursuit of glory. A number of individual match-ups across the park will play their role in deciding the victor; here are five to watch.
Andres Pirlo vs Xavi – As mouth watering as personal duals come, two of the best central midfielders in world football are ready to do battle. Pirlo has been in exceptional form and his ability to run the game for Italy is not dissimilar to the style of Xavi, whilst the Barcelona man has something to prove after a poor showing in the semi-final against Portugal.
Andres Iniesta vs Daniel De Rossi – Andres Iniesta is arguably the most talented player on the pitch, and as such will have a key role in deciding Spain’s fortunes. The gifted attacking midfielder will provide a goal threat for La Roja, whilst also opening the door for his team-mates. Uncompromising defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi neutralized Bastian Schweinsteiger in the last game and will be charged with closing Iniesta down here.
Federico Balzaretti vs Jordi Alba – Two attacking full-backs who have thoroughly impressed this summer and will look to get forward to assist in counter-attacks. Alba has been signed by Barcelona this summer and has an excellent delivery and work-rate, whilst Balzaretti is wanted by AC Milan and links up well with his team-mates.
Sergio Ramos vs Mario Balotelli – Super Mario was the hero against Germany in the semi-finals and bagged a first-half brace to the delight of the Italian fans. The temperamental forward can win the Golden Boot with a goal in the final, and will thrive in being centre stage. Spain have only conceded one goal all tournament, with Ramos the heart of their rearguard.
Riccardo Montolivo vs Sergio Busquets – Montolivo will be deployed by Cesare Prandelli as a trequartista and will look to find space between the Spanish defence and midfield, exactly where Sergio Busquets spend the majority of his time. The AC Milan playmaker will try to create chances for Balotelli and Antonio Cassano, whilst the Barcelona battler will be charged with winning the ball from him.
Tags: Andrea Pirlo, Andres Iniesta, Daniele De Rossi, Euro 2012, Euro 2012 final, Federico Balzaretti, Italy, Jordi Alba, Mario Balotelli, Riccardo Montolivo, Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos, Spain, Spain vs Italy, Xavi