Spain makes historic win
July 06, 2012
It was a breathtaking display from the 2010 World Cup winners, with victory all but sealed by halftime as goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba gave them a 2-0 lead. Victory in the final also represents a triumph for 61-year-old coach Vicente Del Bosque, the first man to lead teams to the World Cup, European Championships and European Champions League crowns, the latter with Real Madrid in 2000 and 2002.
Spain won Euro 2012 and, in doing so, proved that they are just too good. Winning a historic three major tournaments in a row (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 12) is probably enough to prove that statement alone, but the way they have done it is what obliterates any stubborn arguments to the contrary. In 10 knockout-round matches over those three tournaments, Spain have not allowed a single goal. In the entirety of Euro 2012, they allowed just one goal in their very first group-stage match against Italy. And in the tournament's final, also against Italy, they changed their possession-heavy style that drew complaints of being "boring" throughout the tournament back to one with a relentless threat on goal that resulted in a 2-0 lead at halftime. From there, Italy's use of all three subs before the 60th minute quickly put them at a further disadvantage when final sub Thiago Motta -- who nearly missed the team bus earlier in the day -- was carried off with an injury just four minutes after coming on, forcing Italy to play the last half hour with just 10 men. SPAIN became the first country to win three successive internationals tournaments with a 4-0 win over Italy in the final of Euro 2012.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sealed the biggest ever final margin over surprise finalists Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Sunday, as Spain retained the title they won under Luis Aragones in Austria and Switzerland four years ago.
Together with their 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph in South Africa, Vicente Del Bosque's side have now earned the right to be considered one of the greatest teams in the history of international competition. Spain took the lead as early as the 14th minute through Manchester City midfielder Silva, who headed home Cesc Fabregas' cut-back after some good work down the flank by the Barcelona man.
Italy's task became harder when they lost key defender Giorgio Chiellini to injury on 21 minutes, to be replaced by Federico Balzaretti. And the holders doubled their lead four minutes before the break, thanks to an impressive run from deep by Alba.
The Barcelona-bound fullback burst through Italy's backline and gathered a pass from Xavi Hernandez, before slotting past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Italy introduced Antonio Di Natale in a straight swap for Antonio Cassano at half-time. And the Udinese striker almost made an instant impact, heading narrowly over the bar less than 60 seconds after the restart with his team's best chance of the match so far. He went close again four minutes later, evading the Spain defence to force Iker Casillas into a smart save at close range.
Spain introduced Torres on 75 minutes and the Chelsea striker had only been on the pitch for barely 10 before tucking the ball away in the bottom corner. And four minutes later his club teammate, Juan Mata added a fourth for the reigning champions.
Mata, who had yet to feature at the tournament, found himself free inside the penalty box to become the first nation to successfully defend their crown.
From the very start, Spain, with their pace and passing skills, attacked the strong Italian defense and cracked it open in the 14th minute through a David Silva header. Jordi Alba doubled the scoreline in 41th minute. In the second half, Fernando Torres scored in the 85th minute, and assisted Juan Mata for the final goal at the 89th minute.
Spain has made history by lifting a record three big titles in a row, after winning Euro 2008 in Vienna and the World Cup 2010 in Johannesburg.
Fernando Torres won the Golden Boot after finishing with three goals and an assist. He also became the first man to score in two European Championship finals.
Tens of thousands have turned out in the streets of the Spanish capital Madrid to welcome the national football team after their victory at Euro 2012. King Juan Carlos received the team at Madrid's Zarzuela Palace before they began a parade in an open-top bus.The parade ended in a victory rally in the central Plaza de Cibeles.