Fabregas leads Spain attack against Italy
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -Cesc Fabregas will lead Spain's attack against Italy in Sunday's European Championship final after the defending champions selected the same team that drew 1-1 with the Italians in their tournament opener.
Fabregas, who scored one of his two goals in that Group C draw, starts for the third time at the tournament in Poland and Ukraine. Fabregas comes in for Alvaro Negredo, who started in the semifinal victory over Portugal.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli made just one change from the semifinal win over Germany, with right back Ignazio Abate returning from a left leg problem to replace Federico Balzaretti.
Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano will lead Italy's attack in front of Andrea Pirlo at the Olympic Stadium.
Spain, a two-time champion, is vying to become the first nation to defend its title and follow up a World Cup triumph with a second straight European crown. Italy is looking to join Spain and Italy with two championships apiece and its first in 44 years.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has reverted to the 4-6 formation he first tested against the Italians and has come to rely on throughout the tournament. Fabregas and Fernando Torres, who scored in the 1-0 win over Germany in the 2008 final in Vienna, had started two games and scored two goals.
Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas will make his 137th appearance and Italy counterpart Gianluigi Buffon will reach 120 caps, with as team captains.
Both teams expect to build much of their attack through the midfield with Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio and Riccardo Montolivo leading Italy, while Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets start for Spain in the center.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas.
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Ignazio Abate, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, Riccardo Montolivo, Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli.
Swim Daily, Elsa Benitez in Montauk
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