Vicente del Bosque says Spain did the right thing in offering a helping hand to Italy in their respective runs through to the final of Euro 2012.
Reigning European champions Spain had the opportunity to eliminate Italy during the group stage, with both sides slugging it out in Group C.
A 2-2 draw against Croatia in their final group game would have been enough to see Spain and the Croats progress at Italy's expense.
Del Bosque's side play to win, though, and a late effort from Jesus Navas, coupled with a 2-0 victory for the Azzurri over the Republic of Ireland, kept things fair.
Del Bosque has no regrets at having passed up the chance to send a rival packing and is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with a side that posed Spain plenty of problems during a 1-1 draw in the opening round of fixtures.
He told Radio Marca: "Never have we regretted not drawing with Croatia to eliminate Italy. This wasn't good for sport.
"Italy and ourselves have lived parallel lives and now we have to be at the level that a final demands.
"They are a team with a lot of experience and are based around Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi in the centre of the field. Their axis is the connection between Pirlo and Mario Balotelli.
"In the game in the group stages they were possibly superior in the first half. They were the team that gave us most problems."
Spain are readying themselves for a third consecutive major final appearance, but Del Bosque does not believe that gives them the right to consider themselves favourites.
"Italy has won the World Cup four times so we cannot speak of favourites," he said.
"It is a final and it is 50-50. That we played each other in the group stages doesn't condition the game at all.
"That day Antonio Cassano said to my assistant Toni Grande, 'We will see if we meet in the final' and here we are."
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