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Euro 2012: Spain v Italy Live Blog

by Rob Dore | July 1, 2012

Italy have been surprisingly good, particularly in their semi-final win over the more fancied and oddly not so-reliable Germans.
The defending champions haven’t been at their best but ultimately a jaded Spain playing without a striker and struggling to score is still better than most other teams. Starting Negredo counts as playing without a striker.

Can Spain become the first team to win three major international tournaments in-a-row? Can Italy overcome the odds and yet another match-fixing scandal to stop them?

I’ll be here all evening to bring you the latest developments mixed in with some smart-arse remarks, the odd funny image and price updates throughout the game. Join in by posting your comments below or if you have a teenager near-by to help you out then you can also use our @PaddyPowerBlog Twitter account.

Final Score: Spain 4 – 0 Italy

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It’s hard not to feel a little sorry for Italy, particularly the Motta injury, but there can be no doubt that Spain deserved to win this game and this tournament. The best team in Europe and arguably the World. They stepped it up big style in the final which is what the greatest teams do.

Remember this night peeps, you won’t see too many teams like this in your lifetime.

Final-Whistle

21.36: Sergi Ramos almost adds a fifth with a cheeky back-heel.

21.32: Unselfish play from Torres who could have taken that on but he squares to the newly introduced Mata to slot home. Blow the whistle ref, these Italian players don’t deserve to concede another goal.

Goal!!! Mata adds a fourth.

21.31: We can only presume that Spain were having a siesta through the first five games of this tournament. They’ve shown their tonight

21.29: Fernando Torres makes his mark on this final with agoal. It’s an unneeded mark but a mark nonetheless.

Goal!!! Torres comes on to steal some glory with a third goal.

21.24: Pedro tries one from distance. It’s a long way off but who cares? Not the Spanish fans anyway.

21.22: Alba misses a sitter after some more great passing play from Spain. He was off-side anyway but still. This could get messy for the beaten looking Italians.

21.17: It’s all Spain now as they’re camped on the edge of the Italian box. Del Bosque is feeling so confident he’s bringing Torres on. He replaces the excellent Fabregas.

21.15: There’s more of a hint of the inevitable here as the Spanish fans start up a rendition of something celbratory. I should have paid more attention in Spanish class.

21.10: Italy to simply score a goal before the final whistle is 11/4….worth a bet?

21.07: We’ve seen some football miracles over the years but an Italian comeback from this position would be right up there.

21.04: Uh-oh…Thiago Motta goes down clutching his hamstring. He won’t be able to continue if that is his hamstring and Italy will have to fight on with ten men.

21.02: Pedro is on for goalscorer David Silva. Thiago Motta was also brought on for Montolivo. Italy have used all three substitutions.

21.01: Ramos fouls Di Natale. Pirlo puts in another dangerous free-kick but Cassilas claws it away. Balotelli’s follow up shot is comfortably over.

20.59: Pirlo pits a threatening ball over the top but either the pass is too firm or Di Natale is too slow. Either way it came to nothing.

20.57: Iniesta puts Fabregas through but the former Arsenal man can’t take it in his stride. He would have been one-on-one with Buffon there.

20.54: Spain look like they could really run away with this game. Italy need to score the next goal. They almost do it too as Di Natale is put through by Montolivo. Cassilas gets out quickly but Di Natale should have done better.

20.52: Iniesta puts in a well worked ball in to the box, Ramos gets a head on it and it strike Bonucci’s hand. No intention but it stopped a goal bound strike. Seen them given

20.51: Fabregas goes jinking in the Italian box and almost walks it in to the Italian net. The stuff of champions this.

20.49: Di Natale, the only player to score against Spain in this tournament, is on for the disappointing Cassano. He gets a chance early on but heads over from 12 yards.

Kick-Off

He may look like Karl Pilkington, who we all know has a head like a f***ing orange, but that Iniesta ain’t half bad.

To Score 3rd Goal: Spain 11/10, Italy 9/5, No goals 5/2

20.37: It appears they’ve saved their best performance for the final as Spain look on course to retain the European Championship. Italy are starting to struggle to create and meaningful chances as Pirlo has been relatively anonymous.

Half-Time

20.32: Silva has a shot from 30 yards, it’s well hit but right in to Buffon’s arms.

20.30: Montolivo has a strike from the edge of the Spanish box but yet again it’s down the throat of Casillas and he punches it clear.

20.29: Coming from left back Jordi Alba runs the length of the pitch, Xavi plays a sublime ball through the Italian defence and he slots the ball past Buffon. Class from start to finish.

Goal!!! Alba puts Spain 2-0 up.

20.27: A Mexican wave makes it way around the stadium in Kiev. It’s a better game than that. Are the Spanish fans getting a little spoiled?

20.25: Balotelli gets the ball up front, works some space for a shot but blasts it over.

20.20: Italy’s defending is a little too last-ditch for Prandelli’s liking. They’re struggling to maintain possession when they get it back too.

20.19: Cassano gets a firm strike off from outside the box and Cassilas fists it away.

20.18: And now Pirlo over-hits a pass!!

20.15: Xavi is caught in possession!!! If that isn’t news enough, Di Rossi goes on to play in Cassano and the Italian gets a shot off from a dangerous position. Balotelli was better placed on the edge of the box.

In honour of Pique’s yellow card.

20.12: Pique smashes in to Cassano and picks the first yellow card of the game.

20.11: Italy are enjoying more possession but without posing much of a threat. Spain win the ball an come close to creating an opening with just two players.

20.07: Spain on the charge again and Pirlo has to make a last ditch challenge. Chiellini is going off injured with the attack minded Balzaretti coming on.

20.05: Another dangerous corner is cleared behind by Ramos. Italy are looking for an immediate reply. Casillas punches this one clear.

20.03: Balotelli dummies it, no one bites and Pirlo hits it off the wall and it goes behind for a corner. A dangerous looking corner goes behind for a kick-out.

20.02: Italy go right down the other end and Balotelli wins a free-kick on the edge of the Spanish box….danger…

Goal!!! Xavi, plays in Fabregas who outpaces Chiellini to get a cross in which David Silva nods in. Excellent stuff.

19.58: Pirlo lobs one over the Spanish defence for Balotelli to run on to. Ramos gets there first to clear the danger.

19.56: Spain have started well, controlling the ball. This Italian defence is being tested already. Xavi takes a pass from Fabregas and blazes over from the edge of the box. Should have tested Buffon from there.

19.54: Some good play leads to a corner for Spain. Ramos gets his head on it but can’t keep it down.

19.52: Ramos shoots from a free-kick. It’s a good 30 yards out and ends up a good 30 yards over. Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but he didn’t score.

19.50: Balotelli puts in a late challenge which flattens Segio Ramos. It’s hard not to laugh a little. Ramos will get his own back no doubt.

19.49: Pirlo has the first ‘shot’ of the game. At least it didn’t go out for a throw.

Kick-off

19.44: Good effort by the Spanish fans to sing along with a national anthem that doesn’t have any words.

19.43: If only Buffon could keep a tune as well as he keeps goal.

19.41: Will Pirlo work some magic tonight? He’s the 7/2 favourite to be the UEFA man of the match. I have to say I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Juventus midfielder but he has been world class these last three weeks. He has looked a little sharper than his Spanish counterparts too.

19.36: As Hansen rolls out a Forrest Gump quote I’m going to see what they’re complaining about over on RTE. Because you know they’re complaining about something.

19.34: “An enigma wrapped in a riddle surrounded by mystery”? They must be smoking something at the BBC too as they go waahaaay over the top with their Mario montage and voice-over. Two goals in the semi-final having done relatively up to then? He needs to do more than that to warrant the use of Churchill quotes.

19.29: The closing ceremony of Euro 2012 appears to consist of hundreds of mini Telly Tubbys and a giant swimming pool. Drugs may not be legalised in the Ukraine but they’re clearly readily available.

19.27: I’m not so convinced Italy play “sexy football” as Mr Vialli is claiming. They’re certainly a lot better under Prandelli but sexy?

19.22: If you happen to be playing our bingo game (below) you’ll already have marked off a couple of squares. Cliché-tastic.

19.20: as we see a montage of some excellent Italian defending throughout the tournament, the 0-0 at 11/2 is starting to look good. Dear lord let us have some goals.

Balotelli is 6/1 to score first and 12/1 to be sent off.

19.13: Speaking of crazy striker experiments, will Balotelli shine tonight?

19.10: Del Bosque has abandoned his crazy striker experiment with Cesc Fabregas coming in for the pretty woeful Alvaro Negredo. Abate coming in for Balzaretti is Italy’s only change from their semi-final line-up.

Teams

Italy:
Buffon, Chiellini, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pirlo, Balotelli, Cassano

Spain:
Casillas, Pique, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Xavi, Alonso, Busquets, Silva, Fabregas

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