Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has dismissed criticism of Spain’s style of play ahead of the teams’ Euro 2012 final on Sunday.
Reigning world and European champions Spain have come under-fire from some quarters for their perceived lack of flare during the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.
But Italy coach Prandelli rejected the arguments, claiming tight contests involving Spain are due to the respect they are afforded by other teams.
“Boring Spain? In fact it is that the other teams are afraid and play defensively against them, but they manage to win in the end anyway, so that hasn’t really worked either,” he said.
“They are not boring at all.”
“Our main task tactically will be to recover the ball as soon as possible.
“Where we recover the ball will depend on how Spain play, but our main focus will be closing the spaces to prevent them from playing their game, especially in the middle of the pitch.”
Spain have lined-up several times in the tournament without a dedicated striker, Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas often filling in as a deep-lying centre-forward.
Prandelli thinks his opposite number will continue to use the same system, which he believes allows Spain to attack through other avenues.
“I expect the same Spain, the one that suffocates their rivals, it’s a team that doesn’t concede goals,” he said.
“Even if they play without strikers, they attack you from very deep positions, they are very modern and I like the way they play.
“We will try to adapt to the way they play, whether if they use a number nine or not.”
As for his own tactics, Prandelli said is not considering using a five-man defence, but may switch systems during the match should he deem it necessary.
“These last few matches we have been able to maintain a balance, so I’m not thinking on changing to a five (man) backline, it might happen during the match but we won’t play that way from the beginning.”
Italy face Spain in the Euro 2012 final at the Olympic Stadium, Kiev, on Sunday.