After much glory and heartache, we've reached the final of the 2012 European Championships. A showdown between Spain and Italy, and some of the best footballers on the planet. Will it be Andrea Pirlo or Xavi who dominates the midfield and does Mario Balotelli or Andres Iniesta carry the biggest goal threat?
We've teamed up with Castrol Edge to gain an insight into both sides, how the teams and players have performed so far, who are the danger men to watch out for and how both teams are likely to set-up and play? Of course we want to hear the opinions of the SoccerBible fans, and let us know who you think will win the Euro 2012 Final.
At Euro 2012 so far, Spain have attempted nearly 700 passes per 90 minutes, over 100 more than any other side at the tournament, highlighting their domination of the ball. Combine this with a solid defence which has only conceded one goal, and it seems quite a daunting task for Italy.
However, Italy are the only side to have scored against Spain at Euro 2012, and their hunger for the ball could be key to the Azzurri's success. When the two sides met in the group stage Italy had a 100% tackle success, dispossessing the Spanish on no less than 15 occasions.
Key to this physical performance was Prandelli’s decision to start with a 3-5-2 formation, one which helped the Italians crowd the midfield against a Spanish side who had no natural striker, with playmaker Cesc Fabregas (10) playing the ‘false 9’ role. On the players average positions you can see Andrea Pirlo (21) orchestrated his side from the centre of the pitch, whilst Spanish playmaker Xavi (8) sat slightly further forward closer to Fabregas and Silva (21).
With Italian striker Cassano (10) operating slightly more down the left, it could leave Spain's Arbeloa (17) exposed. Dangerous when you consider Cassano has created the most chances from open play at the tournament, sixteen the same as Mesut Ozil. Whilst in front of goal Balotelli has the most goals and shots on target at Euro 2012 with 3 goals and 10 shots, the opposite to Iniesta who has the joint worst with Karim Benzema, not scoring after 12 attempts.
Stats are of course one thing, but it's performance on the day that counts. We can expect Spain to have the majority of possession and Italy to stick to a strict formation to counter this. The battle between Xavi and Pirlo, two of the games great pass-masters and an adidas and Nike player, is a mouth watering prospect. As is the attacking threat the likes of Iniesta, Silva, Balotelli and Cassano carry.
Spain and Italy have conquered the major tournaments in recent years, winning the 2010 and 2006 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships between them, but who do you think will be crowned 2012 European Champions? Have your say and let us know which players you're looking forward to seeing, join the conversation online, on Twitter and on Facebook.