Euro 2012 final: Key players to watch out for
Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mario Ballotelli: Even though many disagree on the striker’s maturity level, none would doubt Mario Ballotelli’s ability on the pitch as a footballer. He proved his worth against Germany in the last four as he was key to Italy’s place in the final. After being inconsistent throughout the tournament, Balotelli was the catalyst against Germany which rung the bells for the defending champions.
The Manchester City forward was dropped by coach Cesare Prandelli for disciplinary reasons in March 2011 but he has received praise from all corners since he scored two goals against Germany. The fans would expect an encore from Balotelli and with a formidable show; he can also bag the much coveted golden boot.
Andrea Pirlo:Even though Balotelli was praised by the football fraternity for his two goals against Germany, it was Pirlo’s brilliance on the field that won him his third Man of the Match award for the tournament.
Pirlo has been able to topple all the opponents with his accurate passes and wise decisions creating opportunities for his team-mates to score goals every now and then. Along with Balotelli, Italy will need Pirlo to use his experience for a formidable show.
Andres Iniesta:Iniesta is to Spain what Pirlo is for Italy. While the defending champions have been termed ‘boring’ for their too their approach, Iniesta has managed to create opportunities for his team. He is yet to strike in the Euro Cup and the final could be the best opportunity.
While Spain are one win away from earning recognition as the most successful European footballers of all time, Iniesta will have to play the role of a catalyst against Prandelli’s boys. The entire Spain outfit would rely on the experienced campaigner to weave his magic at the big stage for one more time.
Xabi Alonso:He is probably the engine of Spain`s midfield. Alonso, who scored two goals against France in the quarter-finals, dictates the game in the Spanish half making sure that the ball possession remains with his side for most of the time. Only is he delivers in the final match, there is no reason why Spain cannot defend their Euro Cup title.
Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon:As two of the best European teams are all set to lock horns in the historic final, the debate of who has a better goal-keeper has already begun. While both of them have been a part of a World Cup winning squad, Casillas has already led his country to a European Championship in 2008. Buffon, the Italian skipper would like to add another feather in his cap by winning the Euro Cup title.