KIEV: Spain confirmed their status as one of the greatest national teams in football history by overwhelming Italy 4-0 in Sunday’s Euro 2012 fianal in Kiev to retain their European crown.
Vicente del Bosque’s team became the first side to successfully defend a European Championship title, as well as the first to win three consecutive major tournaments after their triumphs at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Spain produced a thrilling demonstration of attacking football to confirm beyond doubt that this remains a golden age for Spanish football. Andres Iniesta and Xavi were the architects of victory at the Olympic Stadium, playing key roles in goals by David Silva, Jordi Alba and Fernando Torres, who teed up fellow substitute Juan Mata for Spain’s fourth. In the process, Torres also became the first player to score in two European Championship finals.
Italy played the last half an hour with 10 men after third substitute Thiago Motta was forced off by injury moments after coming on, as the momentum that had taken the Azzurri past Germany and England in the knockout rounds disappeared.
Dropped for the semi-final against Portugal, Cesc Fabregas returned to Spain’s starting line-up to occupy the ‘false nine’ role he had taken up against Italy in the 1-1 draw between the sides in Group C on June 10.