Kiev: Spain won
the Euro 2012 championship here Sunday, trouncing a valiant, but
outmatched, Italy 4-0.
The victory makes Spain the first team in history to win three
major international contests in a row, having previously triumphed
in both the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010.
The match got underway at 9.45 p.m. at the Olympic Stadium, and -
with the Spanish side, coached by Vicente Del Bosque, setting the
tempo, forcing Italy into a deep defence.
It took less than a quarter of an hour for Spain's David Silva to
find the net with a header that put La Roja up 1-0.
Jordi Alba scored again for the Spaniards in minute 41 to give
them a 2-0 lead at the half.
Italy had several chances as the second half got under way, but an
hour into play Thiago Motta was injured shortly after coming off
the bench and had to leave the pitch, reducing Italy to 10 men
with all three of their substitutions already expended.
Spain put on a passing exhibition that exhausted the Cesare
Prandelli's squad, and late in play, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata
added extra - albeit unneeded - insurance in the 84th and 88th
minutes, respectively, for the final lopsided score.
Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon were the starting goalkeepers
for Spain and Italy, respectively, while Fernando Torres was
awarded the Golden Boot for his late goal.
Some 64,000 spectators viewed the match live, and among them were
Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy,
Jubilant Spanish fans poured out into the streets in Madrid and
other cities after the victory, and King Juan Carlos telephoned
Del Bosque to congratulate him.
After the match, Prandelli said at a press conference that
although his team was tired, "Spain made history. They deserve it.
They have played fantastic soccer over the past four years and
they have players (who play at) a magnificent level. ... They
caused us many problems today."
He went on to say that "Today we played against the champions and
playing against them with 10 (men, after Motta's injury) is very
difficult. We had some chances at the beginning. When you play
against Spain you have to have all your energy. They dominated us.
And we can only congratulate Spain."