Spain retained their European title in KIEV, Ukraine, Sunday, July 1 with an emphatic 4-0 win against Italy to become the first team to win three major tournaments in succession. The World Cup champions controlled the European Championship final from the start with sleek, short "tikitaka" passes up field that tore Italy apart: Spain-Italy 4-0.
Spain were favourites to win the tournament, but few thought the World Cup champions would score a whopping four goals past a hitherto impressive Italian side that had looked to grow in strength with each passing game in the tournament. The Spaniard’s had failed to produce the results they wanted against the Italians in their opening Group C encounter that ended 1-1.
Del Bosque’s side, however, came into the final against the Italians with a different strategy and the team were ahead in the first quarter of the hour courtesy of a David Silva's header in the 14th minute off a beautiful, floating pass from Cesc Fabregas. Jordi Alba shoot the second goal past Buffon just before the half in the 41st minute after picking up a sublime through ball from the remarkable Xavi Hernández.
"The game was ours after the first goal, but the truth is that we played one heck of a game," Fabregas said after the game.
Italy’s task was cut out for them in the second half and it became impossible when Thiago Motta, who had only come on the field for seven minutes in the second period, was taken off with an injury in the 64th. Italy had already used all their substitutes and had to content with playing with only 10 men for the reminder of the game.
Farnando Torres came in for Fabregas in the75th minute and added a third goal, going on to become the first player to score in two European Championship finals. Juan Mata, another substitute, completed the routing and put the game beyond doubt in the 88th after he knocked in an easy pass from Torres.
"We won being true to our playing style, and by moving the ball the way we moved it we knew how to take charge of the match," Spain’s goalkeeper and team captain Iker Casillas said. "What we do is difficult but we make it look easy," he added.
Several heads of state, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Premier Mario Monti and other EU dignitaries were in attendance despite earlier indications that they would not travel to Ukraine for the tournament. Mariano Rajoy got to watch his players lift the European Champions Cup amidst confetti and fireworks celebrations and reverberating olés from joyous Spanish funs inside the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
- euro 2012