Euro 2012 Final Preview: The Spanish History Boys
Spain go marching on at Euro 2012 as they seem impossible to stop but one surprise is in store for La Roja as they will be facing Italy and not Germany as was widely expected.
Spain are 8/15 (lift the trophy) favourites for Euro 2012 glory and a place in history, with a hat trick of tournament victories one win away.
Cesc Fabregas (7/1 FGS) netted the winning penalty against Portugal on Wednesday and will be confident of beating the Italians, who are 6/4 to lift the trophy.
Spain have not conceded in the knockout phase of the last three tournaments including this one. It shows they can be solid when they need to be and it is a huge achievement for them to be here considering they are without Carles Puyol and David Villa, two massive players in the past two tournaments.
Mario Balotelli fired Italy into the final on Thursday and will be close to the big headlines one again. The Manchester City striker is 15/2 to score first, 11/1 to net another brace and is 5/4 to be the top goal scorer in the tournament.
He now has three goals, the same as Mario Gomez (8/1), Alan Dzagoev (8/1), Mario Mandzukic (8/1) and Cristiano Ronaldo (8/1). Fernando Torres (9/1) and Cesc Fabregas (11/1) both have two goals and could overtake the others.
Andrea Pirlo (8/11) is the favourite to grab the player of the tournament award after a string of wonderful performances from midfield. Andres Iniesta, a big game player is 7/2 for that award and is 11/1 to open the scoring against the Azzuri.
Spain have found a way of grinding out results in knockout phases in the past few years. A 1-0 win for Spain is 9/2 but they did draw with Italy in the first match of Group C 1-1.
A repeat of that score line is 11/2 in what was a tough, must not lose contest. This final could be the same.
Both Spain and Italy have been in penalty shootouts in these knockout stages and it is 4/1 for this match to go the same way.
It is likely to be a tense affair in the final of Euro 2012 but history will be made by Spain if they can hold aloft their third trophy in three tournaments.
William Hill expects them to do so but they will have to deal with a dangerous Super Mario first and that is no mean feat.
Match Result: 11/10 Spain, 21/10 Draw, 11/4 Italy
To Lift the Trophy: 8/15 Spain, 6/4 Italy
Match to go to penalties: 4/1
First Goal Scorer: 6/1 Llorente, 6/1 Torres, 7/1 Fabregas, 7/1 Negredo, 15/2 Balotelli, 8/1 Cassano, 9/1 Di Natale, 9/1 Pedro, 11/1 Giovinco, 12/1 Borini
Anytime Goal Scorer: 7/4 Llorente, 7/4 Torres, 2/1 Fabregas, 2/1 Negredo, 9/4 Balotelli, 11/4 Cassano, 10/3 Di Natale, 10/3 Pedro, 4/1 Giovinco, 5/1 Borini
Euro 2012 Top Goal Scorer: 5/4 Balotelli, 8/1 Gomez, 8/1 Dzagoev, 8/1 Mandzukic, 8/1 Ronaldo, 9/1 Torres, 11/1 Fabregas, 25/1 BAR
Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament: 8/11 Pirlo, 7/2 Iniesta, 8/1 Xavi, 9/1 Ozil, 10/1 Balotelli, 10/1 Alonso, 14/1 BAR