Saturday 30th June
Monday 2nd July 2012
England’s Howard Webb’s hope of refereeing the European 2012 Championship were dealt a blow last night after UEFA decided to appoint Portuguese referee Pedro Proença to oversee Sunday’s showpiece. Webb was hoping to add the European Final to complete his own personal set, having refereed the World Cup and Champions League finals in recent years.
Prandelli believes Spain hold no fear
Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has said that his players do not fear Spain and that they will spend all their time before the final assessing the weaknesses of the world and European champions.
The Italians drew with Spain in the first round of the group games; however Prandelli believes Italy has learnt their lessons from that game and is in much better shape mentally:
“We are physically and mentally stronger than when we faced them in our opening game. We only have one day to prepare for this game but we will try to find Spain's weaknesses. They are the world and European champions and they are an example to everyone. But we have grown and we should not fear them. We have to have the strength to face them with ideas and quality.”
Prandelli also confirmed that he will be considering his future at the end of the tournament, regardless of the result, even though his contract runs out in 2014:
“I miss being out on the pitch more and why I have a great relationship with the federation, but the last two months have been very difficult.”
No regrets for Del Bosque
Spain’s Vicente del Bosque has no regrets over passing up the opportunity to eliminate Italy from Euro 2012 ahead of Sunday's final.
Had Spain settled for a 2-2 draw in their group game with Croatia then it would have seen both sides go through and subsequently see Italy fail to qualify.
The thought never entered Del Bosque’s head, who suggested that such a tactic would have been damaging for the sport:
“Never have we regretted not drawing with Croatia to eliminate Italy. This wasn't good for sport.
“Italy and ourselves have lived parallel lives and now we have to be at the level that a final demands.
“They are a team with a lot of experience and are based around Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi in the centre of the field. Their axis is the connection between Pirlo and Mario Balotelli. In the game in the group stages they were possibly superior in the first half. They were the team that gave us most problems.”
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