FOOTBALL - On Sunday, 1 July, Spain and Italy will meet in the Euro 2012 final at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium. It is the 31st and final match of Euro 2012 and we have assembled some key facts and figures on this match.
> Italy have never lost to Spain at a ECh or World Cup (3W-4D-0L) in regulation or extra time, although they went out on penalties against Spain in the Euro 2008 quarterfinal. Current Italy squad members Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale had their spot kick saved by Iker Casillas.
> This is the fourth time two teams played their opening match and the final against each other at the European Championship, namely Netherlands vs Soviet Union in 1988, Germany vs Czech Republic in 1996 and Greece vs Portugal at 2004. At Euro 2008, Spain and Russia also met twice, but that was in a group game and in the semifinal.
> Spain are only the second side to reach three successive finals at European Championships and World Cups. This was previously only achieved by (West) Germany, who won the finals at Euro 1972 and the 1974 World Cup and finished runners-up at Euro 1976.
> Only three reigning world champions had previously reached the final of a European Championship: West Germany in 1976, Germany in 1992 and France in 2000. Only the latter went on to win the final. No team has ever retained the ECh title.
> Spain have lost just two of their last 50 competitive matches (44-4-2). Their only defeats in that span were on South African soil, vs USA (0-2) at the 2009 Confederations Cup semi-final and vs Switzerland (0-1) in a 2010 FIFA World Cup group match.
> Twelve Spanish players were also part of the Euro 2008 team that won the title. They can join West Germany’s Rainer Bonhof who is the only player to win two ECh titles (1972, 1980), although he did not play in either competition. All 12 Spaniards featured in 2008.
> Italy are unbeaten in 15 competitive matches under Cesare Prandelli (10W-5D-0L), keeping 10 clean sheets (including awarded match vs Serbia in Euro 2012 qualifying).
> Mario Balotelli has become the first Italian player to score three goals in a single ECh tournament and is Italy’s joint top scorer at European Championship tournaments together with Antonio Cassano.
> Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi and Andrea Barzagli have remained from Italy’s successful 2006 World Cup campaign. Pedro, Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets can also join the list of 57 players (23 GER, 18 FRA, 15 ESP, 1 ITA) that won a ECh and a World Cup title.