The 30 (24+4+2) matches of Euro 2012 over the past 23 days have led to the finale, later today in the Ukrainian capital’s Olympic Stadium:
Euro 2012 Final :
|Referee: Pedro Proença (POR) – Stadium: Olympic Stadium, Kyiv (UKR)|
We’ll be gathering to watch at CultFootball HQ West, which should make for a good viewing atmosphere–not least because of one us is partial to Spain (arising from a longtime affinity for Dutch total football, through to Barcelona starting in the ’90s under Cryuff (& with Cocu, Kluivert, Overmars), to the technical brilliance to today’s tiki-taka); while the other has a rooting roots for Gli Azzurri (Italian ancestors plus childhood Saturdays spent watching the Serie A match of the week on the broadcast Italian channel, not to mention years spent as a defender).
We plan to be live on the site–if not actually live blogging (something we haven’t done since the Spain-Netherlands match almost exactly two years ago), at least live in the comments below.
It is a great matchup for the finale of what’s been a great tournament–hopefully it will be a grande finale, living up to the high expectations the footysphere has for it. Here is Daniel Taylor’s lede to his match preview–“Spain hope to pass into history as Italy look to Pirlo“:
Euro 2012 has been a success in many ways but is still waiting for its first classic match in the knockout stages. If a good tournament wants to be remembered as a great one a lot depends on what happens in the Olympic Stadium here on Sunday and whether the two finalists can conjure up the occasion the competition probably deserves.
Spain against Italy certainly has the potential after what the two teams served up, as a kind of appetiser, when they had a first look at one another during the group stages in Gdansk three weeks ago. Spain demonstrated that night, as they have before and since, that they will almost certainly dominate the possession, but there are legitimate reasons for Italy to deduce that the holders can be at least vaguely susceptible to the right combination of smothering tactics and quick, incisive attacking.
Similarly from another of Guardian Football’s columnists–“Potent Italy may be saving their best until last | Paul Wilson“:
What a wonderful tournament. Everyone seems to be saying so, whether out there or following the action on television at home. Great goals, notable performances, a consistently high standard of football and unexpected results right up until the closing stages. Even the final is being eagerly anticipated, and that has not always been the case in recent years.
Euro 2012’s last twist pits the favourites, Spain, on the verge of winning an unprecedented third modern tournament in a row, against the dark horses, Italy, who made such short work of Germany in the semi-final they must have a decent chance of springing one last surprise.
Some more pregame reading from Michael Cox, aka @Zonal_Marking:
- Three tactical keys to the match:
- “The Pirlo conundrum”
- “Spain should exploit Italy’s narrowness”
- “Alba and Arbeloa proceed with care”
- More tactics at ZonalMarking’s Spain v Italy preview
- A new rivalry? Italy and Spain have never traditionally feuded, but that might be changing | ESPNFC.com)