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Del Bosque happy to meet Italy again

The two sides had been drawn in Group C early on in the tournament. They played each other in their opening fixture and drew 1-1 and the Azzurri subsequently went on to draw against Croatia in their next game.

This meant that Italy needed a favourable result between Spain and Croatia in the final group game in order to progress. Had Spain drawn 2-2 with Croatia, Italy could have been sent home packing at a much earlier juncture.

But the former Real Madrid coach found the suggestion that Spain should have sought to help eliminate the Italians from the competition to be a bizarre one. He insisted that for the good of the game, it would have been best not to arrange for desired results.

Spain ended up winning the game 1-0 against Slaven Bilic’s men allowing the Italians to progress and setup a rematch against the World Champions.

“We have never have regretted not drawing with Croatia to eliminate Italy,” Del Bosque told Radio Marca.

“That wouldn’t have been good for sport.

“Italy and ourselves have lived parallel lives and now we have to be at the level that a final demands.

“When we played Italy in the first game, Antonio Cassano told my assistant Toni Grande that we could meet up in the final again and here we are.”

Spain will face Italy in the final on Sunday knowing that their opponents have been the only side so far to have scored a goal against them. The likes of Portugal, Croatia and France have all failed to breach Iker Casillas’ goal and the Spaniards have gone a staggering 419 minutes without conceding.

Before the match on June 11, the defending European champions had faced Cesare Prandelli’s side in a friendly last year with the men in blue winning that encounter 2-1 courtesy of goals by Alberto Aquilani and Riccardo Montolivo.