Defending champions Spain are on their way to become the first country to win three successive major tournaments when they take on Italy in Sunday’s European Championship 2012 final.
In the history of European Championship, no team has been able to win back to back titles. Spain, who won the FIFA world cup two years ago, are the only team after Germany to have qualified for three major tournament finals.
Spain met Italy in their opening match of Group C, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Both are familiar of one another’s abilities including its strength and weaknesses. Four years ago, when these two teams faced each other in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, Spain defeated Italy in a penalty shoot-out after a scoreless draw in Vienna.
Italy, who finished second in Group C, has been in the best form since the 2010 World Cup. In the quarter-finals, Italy took on England and dominated the match with 68 percent possession and completed over 800 passes, three times more than what England could manage.
In the semi-finals, Italy were up against a confident Germany and delivered a stunning performance, when Mario Balotelli scored twice in the first half, while the Germans could manage only one and booked a place in the finals of Euro 2012.
Spain won their semi-final match against Portugal in a nerve-racking penalty shootout which came after the two sides played out a stalemate in 120 minutes. The Spaniards have conceded just once, which was against Italy during the group stage. Apart from their 4-0 win against Ireland, they have scored just four goals against Italy, Croatia and France respectively.
Spain, who are attempting to create history, with no country ever having won the European Championship twice in a row will have to pull their socks up as Italy are looking to win the title for the first time since 1968.