Euro 2012: Classical Spanish
- 01 July 2012 22:02
- Posted by Chris Eccles
Spain defeated Italy 4-0 in Kiev to become the first team to retain the European Championship trophy.
Goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba at either end of the first half put Spain into a first half lead doubled by late second half goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
Once again Vicente Del Bosque opted to shuffle his pack and play a striker-less formation. After this commanding performance, it is surely the last time his approach will be met with raised eyebrows and questions of negativity.
After a previous 1-1 encounter in Group C, hopes were high for a great match between two teams playing terrific football going into the final.
The game opened at a high tempo as the defending champions quickly gained dominance in possession. Spain attacked with real purpose and were rewarded on 14 minutes when Fabregas cut the ball into the box for David Silva who nodded home.
It was the City star's second goal of the tournament and a deserved reward for a prolonged period of pressure.
Italy responded well and had a few shots from distance as they began to get a sight of the Spanish goal.
However, 4 minutes before the end of the first half, Jordi Alba scored to put Spain 2-0 and give Italy a mountain to climb.
The task ahead of Italy in the second half was even more difficult given that Spain had not conceded a single goal in their last 900 minutes of action in major tournament knockout games. City striker Mario Balotelli found himself well marshalled by Sergio Ramos throughout as he struggled to fashion any real goal scoring opportunities.
David Silva was replaced by Pedro Rodriguez on the hour as Spain looked to close the game. The City midfielder had been a constant attacking threat with his trademark jinking runs and threaded passes.
Italy were forced to play the last half an hour with only 10 men due to an injury to Thiago Motta and as the half wore on, the Azzurri found it harder to match the supreme football of their opponents. Fernando Torres' goal on 84 minutes, followed by a last minute goal from Juan Mata made it a formidable victory for Spain.
The score-line was harsh on Italy who played well in patches but in truth were beaten by a supreme performance from one of history's great teams.