Italy vs. Spain: Euro U-21 Final Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2013

Spain and Italy both took care of business in the semifinals after winning their respective groups and will now face off for the European Under-21 Championship title. Spain is the defending tournament champion after its triumph over Switzerland in 2011.

La Rojita have played four matches in the tournament and still haven't allowed a goal. Four straight clean sheets to reach the final, an impressive feat no matter the level of football. They also have the leading scorer in Alvaro Morata, who's scored in every match.

The Azzurrini are the one team in the tournament capable of matching that defensive effort. They have allowed just a single goal so far, and that came on a penalty kick during the group stage. So the final should be a hard-fought, tightly-contested match.

With that in mind, let's check out all the key viewing information for the championship match, followed by a complete preview and a prediction for which nation will capture the coveted trophy.

 

Where: Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, Israel

When: Tuesday, June 18 at 12 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPNU and ESPN Deportes

Live Stream: ESPN3.com

 

Preview

If Spain plays with the same flair it showcased against Norway in the semifinals, it will defend its tournament title. La Rojita won 3-0, but it could have easily been 6-0 or more if not for some terrific goalkeeping by Orjan Nyland.

The most impressive player on the pitch was Isco. The 21-year-old rising star, who plays for Malaga at the club level, created a scoring chance within the first 10 minutes and remained a force throughout. His hard work finally paid off with a late goal to secure the win.

As has been the case throughout the tournament, the defensive effort was flawless to keep Norway at bay. Manchester United's David de Gea probably didn't even break a sweat as he was only called into action a few times, and every goalkeeper is perfectly content with that.

Spain is also riddled with depth. The best way to illustrate that is Morata, the tournament's leading goal scorer, coming off the bench in the semifinals. When a team has a player of that caliber serving as a super sub, it's not hard to see why it's dominant.

As usual, look for La Rojita to establish possession early. They were able to do it against Norway, which made the match seem out of reach for the underdogs, even when it was only 1-0.

While Spain was clearly the better side in its semifinal, Italy was fortunate to survive. The Netherlands controlled the pace of play, created more scoring chances and easily could have won, but simply lacked the necessary finishing touch.

To their credit, the Azzurrini took advantage. Fabio Borini of Liverpool scored the winner with about 10 minutes left to clinch the berth in the final. They will need to play better to have any chance of upsetting Spain, however.

The turnaround starts in the midfield. Marco Verratti and Fausto Rossi must put consistent pressure on Spain in order to stop it from taking complete control like its done so often in the tournament. It needs to be closer to a 50-50 match for Italy to threaten La Rojita.

Francesco Bardi is the other key. The Italian goalkeeper must have a performance similar to that of Nyland of Norway. Several key stops to keep it close, giving his attack time to break down what's been an impenetrable defensive wall so far.

All told, Italy should be able to contain Spain enough to have a chance in the second half. But La Rojita have been playing too well to pick against them at this point.

 

Prediction

Spain 1, Italy 0

 

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