Kiev: Spain will play attacking football against Italy in the European Championship final. The defending champions just hope Italy return the favour.
Both teams go into Sunday's final at the Olympic Stadium promising to maintain the tactics that have brought them here. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque promised an attacking lineup comprised of three forwards, which did little to clear up whether Spain will use its midfield-heavy attack or field a single striker.
He also brushed off criticism that Spain's attack lacks the cutting edge it had during the team's Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup triumphs.
"We have more of an obligation to attack than to defend because we have players with capabilities to do so," Del Bosque said on Saturday. "Football moves forward and there has been a change of players in the team, but the nucleus remains the same. We're playing the same way we always have."
Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres have shared the most of the responsibility for Spain's attack. David Silva has looked fatigued and there is speculation he could make way for Pedro Rodriguez, who has been impressive in his two appearances off the bench.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has meanwhile promised to maintain Italy's current style, which has not only helped it to the final but has come as a surprise compared to its normally defensive ways.
"A team that has (Andrea) Pirlo, (Claudio) Marchisio and (Riccardo) Montolivo is a team that wants to play football, there's no doubt," Del Bosque said. "It's an open final because we've both followed parallel styles to get here. Our styles of play have been very similar, I don't see much of a difference."
Italy have played with a certain flair normally attributed to Spain, who are vying to win a third straight major title. Spain and Italy played a 1-1 draw in their Group C opener, when Italy were one of the few teams not to sit back and to strike on the counterattack.
"We have to wait until tomorrow to see what the Italy coach does," Spain playmaker Xavi Hernandez said. "Italian football isn't what it was two years ago, now they want the ball. They've got a great team and they know how to compete."
All the ingredients are there for a memorable final.
"Italy has changed, they've got better as the tournament went on and they deserve to be in the final," Del Bosque said. "We can't think we'll face a defensive Italy because they have never showed that here. They come (into the final) playing a certain way and I imagine they will maintain it for this last game against us."