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EURO 2012: Spain make history with tournament win
10:25am Monday 2nd July 2012 in News
Spain became the first team to win three major tournaments in succession by crushing Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put the defending champions in full control before Fernando Torres and Juan Mata came off the bench to complete the rout with strikes in the final 10 minutes.
The stunning victory – the first time any country had won the European Championship final by four goals – meant Spain wrote their name in to the record books.
The all-conquering Spanish won the European Championships in Germany in 2006, lifted the World Cup for the first time in South Africa two years later before successfully defending their European crown.
For the Italians, it proved to be a game too far – although they could consider the final sore to be a bit harsh as the Spanish scored twice in the final six minutes.
But a Spanish victory was never really in doubt as soon as they got in to their pass and move football.
And they took a deserved lead when Silva headed home from close range after some fantastic play by Cesc Fabregas.
And a second goal arrived just before the break when young full back Jordi Alba raced onto Xavi’s exquisite return pass to slide a second past Gianluigi Buffon in the 41st minute.
It was breathtaking stuff, the kind of football no other side can play.
Italy had to go for it in the second half and in fairness they did.
And Antonio Di Natale, a half time replacement for Antonio Cassano had a great chance to pull a goal back but headed Ignazio Abate’s cross over the bar when well placed.
Di Natale then forced a good save out of Iker Casillas who held his follow up effort.
But after that it was all Spain who shone on the biggest stage.
Any hope of an Italy comeback faded when Thiago Motta, a 56th minute substitute, limped off soon after with a hamstring strain to leave them with just 10 players.
It was dreadful luck for the Azzurri, who now knew their task was a hopeless one.
All that was left was to stave off humiliation.
Even that was beyond them as substitutes Torres and Mata struck in the final minutes.
Their first competitive defeat to Spain – penalties excepted – since the 1920 Olympics.
Spain, record breakers twice over, now unbeaten in this competition for 29 games, a run that stretches back to June 2004.