July 1, 2012 ·0 Comments
Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas lifts the trophy after the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy. AP.
KIEV — Spain trounced Italy 4-0 in the European Championship final on Sunday, retaining its title and extending its reign as the best team in world football.
Goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba in the first half gave Spain a convincing lead. Fernando Torres and fellow substitute Juan Mata added goals in the last six minutes.
Italy’s task was tough enough with 11 players, and it became impossible with just 10 after the 64th minute. All its substitutes were used when midfielder Thiago Motta, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, was taken off due to injury.
The victory lifted Spain to a record third consecutive major title, after winning Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. The hat trick of titles is an unprecedented feat for a European team, as is successfully defending the championship.
Spain even allowed Italy the majority of first-half possession, yet its trademark quick passing game was lethal when required.
Spain captain Iker Casillas was outstanding in keeping Italy’s attack at bay for his 10th consecutive shutout in tournament knockout matches.
The victory was the most comprehensive in a European Championship final, beating West Germany’s 3-0 win vs. the Soviet Union in 1972.
It was also a perfect response to Spain’s critics, who said the world and European champion had become boring. They kept possession with endless back-and-forth passes to deny opponents the ball and stifle games, not win them, the detractors said.
But Spain answered by playing its best game at Euro 2012 when most was at stake.
In the 14th minute, Andres Iniesta’s pass found Cesc Fabregas. Fabregas drifted behind defender Giorgio Chiellini and drew goalie Gianluigi Buffon to his near post. Silva waited eight yards out to head a pass back from Fabregas into the net.
Spain then increased its lead just four minutes before the break.
Hernandez had been below his usual high standard at Euro 2012, but he has pass hit Alba in stride as the left-back burst past four Italian defenders to slip his shot past Buffon.
Spain cruised through the second half, to cries of “Ole” from its fans.
Torres slide his shot past Buffon and inside the far post in the 84th minute. Minutes later, Mata came off the bench like Torres, and took his Chelsea teammate’s pass to score into an Italian goal left unguarded yet again.
It was his first shot of the tournament, and Spain’s final goal.
Contributing: By The Associated Press
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