june 29, 2012 • 08:15 AM • last update 09:27 AM

Stingy Spain worried about Balotelli, Italy

Mario Balotelli is on the minds of Spain defenders as Italy tries to derrail the defending European champions in Sunday's final. Balotelli scored both goals in Italy's 2-1 win over Germany in the semifinals.
Foto: AP in English

Stingy as it may be, Spain's defenders are still a little worried about their rematch with Mario Balotelli and Italy in the European Championship final.

Spain's bid to win a third straight major title comes Sunday at Kiev's Olympic Stadium, where the Mediterranean rivals meet for a second time after starting Euro 2012 with a 1-1 draw.

Spain has reached the final with the fewest goals conceded since West Germany went on to win the tournament 40 years ago. Spain's defense hasn't conceded a goal in its last nine knockout games.

Balotelli scored twice against Germany in the semifinals. Defender Sergio Ramos says "it would be a lie to say I'm not worried about them, but we are not obsessing over" Italy.

Italy's goal in the opener is the only one Spain has conceded so far in this tournament. Balotelli had early chances against the Spanish defense, but Italy didn't break through until he was replaced by Antonio di Natali in the second half.

Spain reached the final after beating another Mediterranean rival, Portugal, on penalty kicks, 4-2, in the semifinal.

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