Newcastle manager Alan Pardew claims Italy have more variety than Spain ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2012 final.
Pardew believes that with Andrea Pirlo operating in a deep role, the Italians are well balanced and have got it right tactically.
“In coming through to the final, Italy have done what they invariably do, getting better after starting slowly,” Pardew said in The Independent.
“They deserved to beat Germany in Thursday’s semi-final, tactically getting it just right and showing the balance between possession and impacting on the opposition.
“With Pirlo’s long passes, they had a better mixture to their game than the Germans, and indeed Spain.
“I know Pirlo has played that role for a long time, but using such a creative player in a deep position is one of those concepts that could catch on – if you can find the right player with the ability to dictate the pace of the game.
“At Newcastle we sometimes use Yohan Cabaye there: his impact gives us something different from when Cheick Tiote plays there in a more defensive role.”
Pardew also said that Spain’s extra day of preparation could be key in deciding the outcome of the tournament, but believes that Italy could still edge the match.
“For me, Portugal had the best game plan against the Spanish, pressing them and keeping them goalless in the semi-final,” he said.
“Don’t expect Italy to concede too much possession, although an extra day’s rest at this stage of a tournament can make an awful lot of difference and that is in Spain’s favour.
“Italy have been very unlucky in that respect to go into a final with only two days’ preparation, which is not really enough.
“They may suffer for that, and yet I have sneaky feeling for them, with Andrea Pirlo emerging as the player of the tournament ahead of Andres Iniesta.
“You always hope for a good final, however the rest of the tournament has been [good], and this has been one of the better ones.
“Many of the fears about racism, for instance, have been put to bed, the quality of football has been high, and for England it was just about an honourable exit, even if we now want and need more.
“You could say we have enjoyed a nice starter, a good main meal and now we are looking for that perfect dessert to round it off.”