Spain are "the reference point" of world football, Cesare Prandelli said Friday, as the Italian coach seeks to exploit any weaknesses in La Roja ahead of the Euro 2012 final.
"I hope to prepare the final against Spain well, even though we have only one day. We will try to understand and find their weak points as we did against Germany," Prandelli said after Thursday's 2-1 win over the Germans in the semi-finals.
"It will not be easy because the Iberian team has won the European championship and the World Cup in the last four years. They have real quality, not just technical but also in terms of morals and personality. I have always said that they could be a reference point and that is still the case," the Italy coach added.
Italy held the current European champions to a 1-1 draw in their opening group C match - the only team to have scored against them so far. That game could provide valuable insights into Sunday's showdown in Kiev.
"We had an important first half against Spain, we must try to repeat that first half in terms of attitude, without fear of confronting ourselves with this team. We must maintain tactical balance - that is where the secret is: if we manage to distribute our energy we also can take control of the match."
Prandelli once again praised striker Mario Balotelli, author of both of Italy's goals against Germany, and played down any speculation that he might be leaving the Azzurri after the tournament.
"I have always said that I miss the pitch and the daily routine (of a club coach).... These have been two heavy months, but I am not hinting at a divorce."
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