Spain vs. Italy, 2013 European Under-21 Championship final: Preview and TV schedule
The two finalists' experiences in the semi-finals couldn't be much more different, with Spain's youngsters dishing out a masterclass worthy of the full national side against Norway, before Italy unconvincingly squeezed past the Netherlands. These games only served to underline Spain's status as clear favourites going into Tuesday's decider in Jerusalem, looking to defend the title they won in 2011.
Spain were just about perfect in their hammering of Norway, maintaining their 100% win record this tournament. Playing in the style made famous by their senior team, La Roja joyously dominated their opponents with perfect passing and intelligent movement, scoring three times without reply. The highlight was unquestionably a stunning poke into the top corner by Málaga's wonderkid Isco -- arguably the creative star of the Spanish team, and just one of the players Italy will have to keep quiet.
If Devis Mangia's team are even going to be competitive in this game, they'll have to improve on their semi-final performance. Not helped by the coach's insistence on playing with only two central midfielders, the Azzurrini allowed their Dutch opponents to dominate the midfield. Only though through a mix of good fortune and determined defending did they withstand the early barrage, with Fabio Borini netting a late winner. Allowing Spain so much space would be to commit footballing suicide, such is their passing ability in midfield and creativity in attack. Playing compact and on the counter-attack will almost certainly be they way Italy will set up, with their offensive width having the potential to cause Spain problems.
Spain Injuries and Suspensions
Out: Sergio Canales (hamstring) In doubt: Ignacio Camacho (ankle)
Italy Injuries and Suspensions
Out: Luca Marrone (hamstring) In doubt: Riccardo Saponara (muscle)
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 7 p.m. local, 12 p.m. ET
Venue: Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem, Israel
TV: ESPNU (U.S. English), ESPN Deportes (U.S. Spanish), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.) TSN (Canada)
More in Soccer:
This article originally appeared on SBNation.Click here for the full article »