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2152: Ramos has his eye on Balotelli here _ and an arm. A cross comes over and the Spanish defender annoys Balotelli during a physical aerial challenge. A good open start to the final, with both teams attacking. If they play without the handbrake on, this could be a great game.

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2145: And they’re underway at the Olympic Stadium, Spain kicking off.

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2143: Both goalkeepers tonight _ Casillas and Buffon _ are captaining their teams tonight.

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2142: Buffon’s a great goalkeeper, but a singer? Eyes closed, roaring out the words of the national anthem again. Can’t accuse him of lacking passion, could do with some tone practice, though.

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2055: Cesc Fabregas will lead Spain’s attack, with recognized strikers Fernando Torres and Alvaro Negredo starting on the bench. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli makes just one change from the semifinal win over Germany, with right back Ignazio Abate returning from injury to replace Federico Balzaretti. Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano will lead Italy’s attack in front of Andrea Pirlo.

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2050: And here are the lineups:

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.

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2040: From AP’s Trevor Huggins: “Spain hasn’t beaten Italy in a competitive match that didn’t end in penalties since 1920.

Story Continues →