Euro 2012 Final: Spain 4-0 Italy | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Final: Spain 4-0 Italy

[Monday, July 02, 2012 ]

Widely recognised as the best team on the planet, Spain swept Italy aside 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final on Sunday to pick up a record-breaking third consecutive international title.

Spain captain Iker Casillas lifts the trophy after winning the European Championship
Spain captain Iker Casillas lifts the trophy after winning the European Championship

Photo: Getty Images

It took just 14 minutes for Spain to break the deadlock as Andrés Iniesta split the Italy defense with a brilliant pass into Cesc Fàbregas and, after drifting behind Giorgio Chiellini, he cut the ball back onto the head of David Silva to nod into the far corner.

Vicente del Bosque's side doubled the lead four minutes before the break when Xavi put a weighted pass into the path of Jordi Alba, who calmly slotted past Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy's task was tough enough with 11 players, and it became impossible once substitute Thiago Motta, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, was stretchered off in the 64th minute, reducing the Azzurri to 10 men with all three substitutions already used.

The Azzurri were floored by the setback as Spain, a man up and two goals ahead, began to kill the game off with large periods of leisurely possession in the opposition half.

Fernando Torres, four years on from netting the winner against Germany at Euro 2008, stepped off the bench to grab Spain's third when he rolled into the bottom corner on 84 minutes.

Torres then turned provider four minutes later as he squared for Chelsea teammate and fellow substitute Juan Mata to plant the ball into an empty net and put the seal on a productive night's work.

Spanish forward Fernando Torres scores his third goal in the Euro 2012 to win the Golden Boot award
Spanish forward Fernando Torres scores his third goal in the Euro 2012 to win the Golden Boot award

Photo: Getty Images

In lifting the trophy, Spain became the first side to secure back-to-back European Championship titles and the first on the continent to win three consecutive international tournaments.

"This success in Spanish football is something historic, and now we have to look to the future and try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," said del Bosque.

Despite the loss, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was pleased after his side surprised many pundits by making the final, following knockout wins over England and Germany.

Prandelli said: "It has been a sensational tournament and I pay my compliments to my players.

"We must grow and arrive at these important competitions with the right space during and after the Italian championship."

Lineups:

Spain: Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso; David Silva (Pedro, 59), Cesc Fàbregas (Fernando Torres, 75), Andrés Iniesta (Juan Mata, 86)

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon; Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (Federico Balzaretti, 21); Andrea Pirlo; Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo (Thiago Motta, 57), Daniele De Rossi; Antonio Cassano (Antonio Di Natale, 46), Mario Balotelli



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