Spain make history beating Italy to register third consecutive tournament win.
Spain 4-0 Italy
Olympic Stadium, Kiev
Sunday 1 July 2012
Spain made history as they became the first team to win three international tournaments in a row after an irresistible 4-0 win against ten-man Italy claimed Euro 2012 glory.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba and substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata ensured Spain defended their crown and drew level on three European Championship successes with Germany.
Spain were emphatic as they furiously peppered the Italian goal in the early exchanges. Centre-back Sergio Ramos, a commanding presence throughout the tournament, produced two efforts within the first seven minutes, setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Barcelona playmaker Xavi came close to breaking the deadlock in the tenth minute, but his snatched shot whistled just over the crossbar after an intricate exchange with Noo Camp team-mate Cesc Fabregas.
And Spain were rewarded for the relentless incision and penetration just three minutes later. The majestic Andres Iniesta released Fabregas, who intelligently drew Gianluigi Buffon from the Italy goal before pulling back for David Silva to head into an empty net.
The goal shook a previously sluggish Italy side into life, and the enigmatic front two of Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli both registered efforts, although neither managed to trouble Iker Casillas.
However, Spain continued to carve out chances, and it was no surprise when Jordi Alba doubled their lead four minutes before the interval.
The fleet-footed full-back galloped through the middle, latching onto Xavi’s inch-perfect through ball and coolly slotting beyond the reach of Buffon for one of the tournament's finest goals.
The introduction of Antonio Di Natale at half-time added an extra dimension to the Italian attack, but the Udinese forward failed to reduce the arrears, despite managing to successfully evade the Spanish defence.
However, the Azzurri were rocked on the hour mark when substitute Thiago Motta pulled up with a hamstring injury, leaving Italy with ten men for the remainder of the match after coach Cesare Prandelli had used all three substitutions.
And Spain’s numerical advantage paid off in the closing stages, as Fernando Torres extended his side’s lead with a neat side-footed effort in the 84th minute, helping to earn him the Euro 2012 Golden Boot, before exquisitely laying the ball off for Juan Mata to stroke into an empty net just four minutes later. It capped off an historic evening for La Furia Roja.
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi; Iniesta (Mata 87), Silva (Pedro 59), Fabregas (Torres 75)
Subs not used: Valdes, Reina, Albiol, Martinez, Juanfran, Cazorla, Navas, Negredo, Llorente
Coach: Vicente Del Bosque
Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini (Balzaretti 21); Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi, Montolivo (Motta 56); Cassano (Di Natale 45), Balotelli
Subs not used: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ogbonna, Giaccherini, Montolivo, Diamanti, Nocerino, Borini, Giovinco
Coach: Cesare Prandelli
Referee: P Proenca