History is on Italy's side but Spain will take heart from 2008 shootout win
12:24 GMT, 29 June 2012
So now we know that it will be Italy and Spain who will contest the 14th final of the European Championships in Kiev this Sunday.
They have already met in this tournament, of course, with their opening Group C match finishing 1-1.
Here, Sportsmail looks back through the history books at previous meetings between the two nations at international tournaments.
European Championships 2008: Quarter-final – Spain 0 Italy 0 (aet, Spain won 4-2 on penalties)
Billed as a meeting of two European heavyweights, this last-eight game in Vienna was a dour affair with both sides adopting a cautious approach.
Lightning does strike twice: Fabregas scored the winning penalty in 2008
Spain, en route to their first tournament victory since 1964, prevailed on penalties after 120 minutes of stalemate.
Iker Casillas was the hero, saving penalties from Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Di Natale, as an all-conquering Spanish team began to flourish.
World Cup 1994: Quarter-final – Italy 2 Spain 1
This World Cup will always be remembered for Roberto Baggio blazing over his penalty in the Final, but he was on stellar form in this quarter-final, scoring the winner with two minutes to play.
His namesake and Juventus teammate Dino put Italy ahead with a stunner from 25 yards, only for Jose Luis Caminero to equalise in the second half.
Extra time loomed in a game which offered more entertainment than most in this tournament, before a brilliant Italian goal.
In four passes, they swept the ball from left-back to Baggio up front and he rounded Andoni Zubizarreta to score.
There was still time for controversy – Mauro Tassotti’s vicious elbow on Jose Enrique in the penalty area went unseen and Spain went out. Enrique reportedly lost a pint of blood from his face and Tassotti was later banned for eight games.
At the double: Baggio was Italy's match-winner in 1994
European Championships 1988: Group stage – Italy 1 Spain 0
Italy wins 10;
Spain wins 8; Draws 12; Italy goals 39; Spain goals 30.
*including non-competitive matches
These two young and talented sides, who had met in the 1986 European Under-21 Championship final, found themselves in a nightmarish group with hosts West Germany and Denmark.
Something had to give and Italy, anchored by a 19-year-old Paolo Maldini, had the better of the game in which chances were at a premium.
In the end, one goal was enough – from Carlo Ancelotti’s pass, Sampdoria striker Gianluca Vialli scored with a cross-shot. Italy were beaten by the Soviet Union in the semi-final.
European Championships 1980: Group stage – Italy 0 Spain 0
In the days before 16-team European tournaments, our protagonists found themselves in a tough group also featuring England and Belgium with only the group winner reaching the final.
Expectations were high for hosts Italy but the two teams cancelled each other out in the San Siro. Juventus defender Claudio Gentile had the best chance for Italy, but was denied by Luis Arconada at his near post.
Spain were more expressive after half-time and Jess Satrstegui had a goal disallowed and Juanito struck the crossbar. Spain lost to Belgium and England and finished bottom of the group, while Italy lost on penalties to Czechoslovakia in the third place play-off.
World Cup 1934: Quarter-final replay – Italy 1 Spain 0
It was the first time both nations had competed in the World Cup and Italy were on home soil. The tournament was a straight knockout but with penalty shoot-outs still 40 years away, the teams had to replay the day after their 1-1 draw.
Grudge match: The two sides played in Group C's opening match
In the original game, a goal from Real Madrid player Luis Reguiro – a defender with an enviable scoring record – was equalised by Italy’s Giovanni Ferrari.
The replay, 24 hours later, was an aggressive affair with the Spaniards left battered, bruised and beaten when Giuseppe Meazza scored the only goal after 11 minutes. Italy would win the tournament, the first of their four triumphs.
Olympic Games 1928: Quarter-final replay – Italy 7 Spain 1
Previous competitive meetings between the two nations had come in the Olympic Games football tournament.
At the 1920 Antwerp Games, they had met in what was titled the ‘Consolation Round’ after both being eliminated in the quarter-finals, with Spain winning 2-0 courtesy of two goals from Felix Sesumaga. Four years on in Paris, Italy had prevailed 1-0 thanks to a late own goal from Jesus Larazza.
But the most resounding result of the teams’ long history came in Amsterdam in 1928. Following a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final, they returned three days later, with Italy winning 7-1. This remains Spain’s biggest international defeat, matched only by a thrashing by England three years later.