It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
The battle lines have been drawn. Tonight, on the biggest stage in Europe, it will be the defending champions taking on the unlikely finalists. The big question on everyone's mind is will Spain create history and become the first team ever to win back-to-back European titles... For now, there's no simple answer, just a variety of tangibles and intangibles that lead us to believe that this one's going to be epic.
The game will kick off tonight at 00:15 IST.
Since their first meeting in Milan, back in 1924, La Roja have faced the Azzurri 26 times. Both teams have been quite evenly-matched over the years, and have won eight encounters apiece. In fact, so well-matched are these two sides that their Group C game earlier in this tournament also ended in a 1-1 scoreline.
Having said that, when it comes to major tournaments, the Italians hold the edge. They have won three out of their seven World Cup and Euro meetings, whereas Spain has triumphed only once on the big stage against their rivals. Incidentally, that was during the previous edition of Euro, when La Roja won on penalties in the quarter finals.
In other words, history doesn't really favor any particular side here!
Both sides are laced with top-class talent that has seen them pull off some great wins over the last couple of weeks. While the experienced trio of Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas has been holding the Spanish in good stead, for the typically-defensive Italians, the mercurial Mario Balotelli adds a much-needed attacking flavor.
Defensively speaking, the veritable who's who of world football will be in action tonight. Starting off with the two goalkeepers--Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon--it will be every striker's nightmare to plough through either of the defensive units. Of course, the final roadblocks, that are these legendary glovemen, will seem virtually impenetrable.
In a game like this, there are bound to be several offside traps and near-perfect marking. So, the likes of Antonio Cassano and Torres will have their work cut out in the opponent's half. Still Spain's three-pronged attack looks superior to the Italians' frontline--at least on paper.
This one could go down to extra time and perhaps, even penalties. And should it come to that, Spain holds a massive edge; afterall, Italy have had terrible luck when it comes to extra time in major tournaments (read: 1994 World Cup and Euro 2000).
Besides, judging by recent form, Spain does seem like a safe bet--unless a certain Manchester City striker has anything to say about it, of course!
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