, ESPNDeportes and WatchESPN.com.
KIEV, Ukraine (Sporting Alert) — Cesc Fabregas starts but there was no place for Fernando Torres in the starting line-up for Spain in their Euro 2012 final against Italy tonight.
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Torres was tipped to start the game, following the less than impressive outing from Alvaro Negredo, who started in the semi-final against Portugal, but coach Vicente del Bosque has opted to once again play without a recognized striker.
Del Bosque is expecting a difficult game against the improving Italians
“Italy have changed; they started well against us and kept improving so they’re worthy rivals,” he said.
Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano will continue their partnerships up top for Italy, with the Manchester City forward expected to give the Spain backline all the trouble they can handle.
The key figure in the midfield is Andrea Pirlo and should he get going, Italy will certainly have a chance of dethroning the champions tonight.
The goal for the Italian is knock their opponents out of their rhythm, with coach Cesare Prandelli expecting another tough time in possessing the ball.
“Spain’s strength is not only possession, but also the way they win it back,” Prandelli said. “We’ve got to pick our moments.”
Italy v Spain Starting Teams
Spain: Casillas, Piqué, Ramos, Arbeloa, Alba, Iniesta, Fàbregas, Alonso, Busquets, Silva Subs: Valdés, Reina, Albiol, Martínez, Juanfran, Cazorla, Navas, Rodríguez, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente.
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pirlo, Balotelli, Cassano
Subs: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Maggio, Ogbonna, Balzaretti, Motta, Giaccherini, Diamanti, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Giovinco.