The Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy features some of the world's best attacking players, but just like many of the knockout stage games at the tournament thus far, it probably won't be a high-scoring affair.
Players will be cautious at all times and will be less likely to take risks in the defensive third of the field. Doing the little things right and playing their own style, as cliched as it sounds, will be crucial to both squad's chances of coming out victorious.
Let's look at two keys to victory for each team.
Schedule for Euro 2012 Final
|Date||Time||TV Info||Live Stream|
|Sunday, July 1||2:45 p.m. ET||ESPN||ESPN3.com|
Possess the ball like normal
The Spanish seem to always win the possession battle, even against teams with top midfielders who don't give the ball away easily. Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso will be in charge of tiring the Italian players with their quick, short passes while also pushing toward goal.
The Italians are impressive penalty-takers, but most importantly they have a world-class goalkeeper in Gianluigi Buffon who is arguably the finest penalty shootout goalkeeper in world football.
Just like in the 2010 World Cup final, Spain is better off attacking throughout the match and hoping to prevent a penalty shootout from happening.
Feed Balotelli the ball
Mario Balotelli proved against Germany that he is one of the world's best attacking talents when he has opportunities to score.
Italy must capitalize on his confidence heading into the final and continually give him the ball in the attacking third.
Counter Attack Effectively
One of the best ways for Italy to score on Sunday will be to use their counterattack when Spain has set pieces in the attacking third.
The Italians have a number of players who can ignite the counterattack with quick passes up the pitch that will allow their speedy forwards to create scoring chances.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!