Spain vs. Italy TV Schedule: X-Factors to Look Out for in Euro 2012 Final

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJune 29, 2012

After Italy shocked Germany on Thursday in the Euro 2012 semifinals, the underdog will face reigning champion Spain on Sunday at Olympic Stadium in Ukraine.

The enigmatic Mario Balotelli was the hero for Italy against Germany, scoring two early goals. Spain, on the other hand, won in penalty kicks against Portugal after its strong defense shut out Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.

But beyond the stars in the final, there are also role players and regular substitutes who could help their respective clubs make history in 2012.

Here's a look at the biggest X-factors for each finalist (match will air at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN3).

 

Fernando Torres, Spain

Fernando Torres' playing time has fluctuated throughout Euro 2012, along with his performance. He scored two goals against Ireland in the group stage but hasn't done much since. After disappointing in his start against Croatia in the group stage, Torres played just 23 minutes against France in the quarterfinals and didn't play at all against Portugal in the semifinals.

The Chelsea striker has been up and down in the past year, but he has shown glimpses of being a difference-maker on the pitch.  

 

Cesc Fabregas, Spain

Coach Vicente del Bosque doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with Cesc Fabregas, but that hasn't stopped Fabregas from making an impact in Euro 2012. The Arsenal midfielder has scored twice in the tournament, including once against Italy in the group stage. He swung home the game-winning penalty shot against Portugal in the semifinals. 

 

Antonio Cassano, Italy

Antonio Cassano isn't one of the bigger names on Italy, but it was his beautiful cross that set up Mario Balotelli for the side's first goal against Germany in the semifinals. The 29-year-old's creativity and ball control was on full display against the Germans, and the Italians are going to need more of that if they are going to upstage the reigning champions.

 

Antonio Di Natale, Italy

Antonio Di Natale has taken just 10 shots in Euro 2012, but his lone goal came against Spain in the group stage as the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw. Di Natale will likely get somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes against the Spanish, but the veteran has the talent and experience to be a deciding factor in the final.

Di Natale has the speed and goal-scoring ability to make you pay if you forget about him, even at 34 years of age. He had 23 goals for Udinese in Serie A this past season.

 

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