Five things Italy needs to do to win

Italian forward Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring against Germany during their UEFA EURO...

Italian forward Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring against Germany during their UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final football match at National Stadium in Warsaw on June 28, 2012. (AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:48 PM ET

Here are the five things Italy must do to win Sunday's Euro 2012 final against Spain.

1. Neutralize Andres Iniesta.

While some Spanish midfielders have a bigger reputation, Iniesta is the Spanish motor. He also has this knack of getting open and scoring big goals. The job of neutralizing Iniesta might fall to Italy's Daniele De Rossi, who isn't 100% fit.

2. Control the pace.

While it is difficult to make Spain give up the ball, Italy must try to create turnovers by pressuring the Spaniards to make passes quickly. Italy's ability to play one-on-one defensive coverage allows it to put a little more pressure on the Spanish midfield.

3. Attack.

When Italy does get the ball, it needs to move forward and attack Spain's defence. There is no need for an all-out, frenzied attack but Italy wants to come forward with more than two or three players, forcing the Spanish to defend from sideline to sideline.

4. Get the ball to Andrea Pirlo.

No one knows how much Pirlo has left in the tank but Italy can't do without him. His ability to distribute the ball puts defences on their back foot. Against Spain, he will have a little more time. Given that time, he'll make a least one good pass that leads to a goal.

5. Make Balotelli feel wanted.

Feed Mario Balotelli early with plenty of passes, get him involved in the game. Make Spain work hard against the striker. Italy can benefit in one of two ways -- he scores a goal (which pumps him up to the point where he turns into a monster that's difficult to contain) or his involvement forces Spain to focus its attention on him.


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