England striker Danny Welbeck has tipped defending world and European champions Spain to beat Italy in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final in Kiev.
Vicente del Bosque’s team are looking to become the first nation to win three consecutive major tournaments, having emerged victorious in Austria and Switzerland at Euro 2008 beforewinning the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Spain are yet to suffer defeat this time around and beat Portugal on penalties to set up the clash against Cesare Prandelli’s team at the Olympic Stadium.
“It’s hard to look beyond Spain,” Welbeck told the Times of India.
“They have the experience of winning big tournaments — they’ve won the last two. And they have fantastic players who know how to play big games.”
Welbeck was playing in his first tournament for England but they crashed out in familiar fashion at the quarter-final stage after a penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy.
Roy Hodgson’s team did not lose any of their four matches in normal time, however, and the Manchester United star was positive about the experience in Poland and Ukraine.
“It was a great experience,” Welbeck said.
“I was really excited to be involved in a major competition for England for the first time, and obviously to start games was incredible.
“The atmosphere in the squad was brilliant too. Everyone was gutted at the way it ended because we felt we could go further; but it wasn’t to be. There are things we can work on and do better next time.
“Italy played very well, especially Andrea Pirlo, and we had to defend a lot in the game. I thought we defended really well as a team but we needed something more to win it.”
Ashley Young and Ashley Cole were guilty of missing spot-kicks for England but Welbeck insisted that no blame was placed on the left-sided duo in the aftermath of the game in Kiev.
“Obviously they were really low, but so was everyone and all the lads rallied round them,” Welbeck said.
“We win as a team and lose as a team and penalties are just a lottery.
“It was a horrible feeling for all of us. Penalties are a lottery. It’s very hard to understand and obviously the mood in the dressing room afterwards was terrible.
“In training, we had been sticking away penalties all week. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we didn’t get through.”
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