Respect, admiration and sheer awe are in plentiful supply today with Europe's newspapers united in their praise of Spain's historic triumph at UEFA EURO 2012. UEFA.com brings you the press reaction from across the continent.
Tiki-tastic! No one in the history of the EURO has ever achieved such an impressive victory as Spain's against Italy in the EURO 2012 final. Fernando Torres is the first player to have scored in two consecutive EURO finals and [Vicente] Del Bosque – or better, Del Boss – is a coach who has it all now: the World Cup, EURO and UEFA Champions League.
The Spaniards rewrote history and, after the most convincing win in a EURO final, they have a golden hat-trick. The football kings from Spain clearly confirmed their dominance as they thumped their Italian challengers 4-0. Xavi [Hernández] and Co are simply the best.
Sport, Czech Republic
Finally Spain let themselves go and we got excellent entertainment in a EURO final that will go down to history, and in which the Italians also contributed to the party by meeting the Spaniards high up the pitch.
Ekstra Bladet, Denmark
This will forever be recalled as Spain's era, unrivalled by any team. Forty-four years it took them to win a major tournament. In four years they have won two more. No other team have retained this trophy and yet at times it felt as if winning this tournament was an obligation; winning it well was an obligation, too. Spain fulfilled both brilliantly.
The Guardian, England
Football is a game of 11 players against 11 and, in the end, Spain win. By beating Italy 4-0 in a final that they controlled to perfection, La Roja have rewritten history, becoming the first team to retain their European crown – and the first to win a EURO-World Cup-EURO hat-trick that West Germany were unable to complete in 1976. Although portrayed since the start of the tournament more as a small-time side than conquerors, Vicente del Bosque's team made it a question of honour to go down in history in style.
Spain remain the benchmark in world football. The 4-0 win against Italy was an expression of classy football, fighting spirit and team cohesion. In this final, Spain also showed that their idea of football is all-consuming: attacking football without neglecting defence. They have not conceded a single goal in ten knockout matches since EURO 2008. It took 44 years for Spain to become the football kings of Europe and it doesn't look like they want to leave that throne any time soon."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany
Invincible Spain, in a breath-taking exhibition of their football omnipotence, dispatched Italy 4-0. The mighty Furias Rojas won their third major trophy in a row, a feat never before achieved by any national team.
Fos ton Spor, Greece
It hurts this way. The game was already over after the first half. With Italy reduced to ten men after 61 minutes, the Spanish dominated the game and won a historical third trophy in a row.
Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy
Italy, don't cry. The Azzurri were tired and reduced to ten men for almost half an hour, and they go home with a 4-0 loss that cannot make us forget a thrilling tournament. [Giorgio] Chiellini and Thiago Motta's injuries were decisive.
In the final, Spain, playing without a striker, took revenge on all their critics by becoming European champions with some great attacking football. The most beautiful football show was saved for the final game. Italy had the most enjoyable team to watch during the tournament, with [Andrea] Pirlo as architect. Spain and Italy showed that attacking football is rewarding. Let this be the standard over the coming two years going into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
De Telegraaf, Netherlands
The football kings from Spain proved they are in perfect shape and don't want to abdicate. After their 4-0 victory against Italy, there is no sense discussing whether the EURO in Poland and Ukraine was good or not. Here, during this tournament, the best national team in football history accomplished their mission. The world has been waiting for such a team for almost a century and a half.
Przegląd Sportowy, Poland
Historical! Unforgettable! A legend! The irresistible Spain team were crowned champions of Europe for the second time in a row on Sunday in Kyiv. Never before had a team managed to do that, and never before had a team won three consecutive major titles. La Roja achieved it in 2008, 2010 and 2012. The big win against Italy caps the feats of a golden generation in exemplary fashion. An exaggerated result? No, a very fair one.
A Bola, Portugal
Few football 'schools' – perhaps the Hungary of [Ferenc] Puskás in the 1950s or the Brazil of Pele in the 1970s – have proved as dominant as the current Spanish school. Then, too, whilst historical precedents are oriented around a Puskás or a Pele, this side, in the words of beaten Italian coach [Cesare] Prandelli, is a team that does not need a central target man in attack. Their real attacking genius is the collective strength of an entire squad that "attacks the empty spaces" like few others, says Prandelli. He has a point.
Irish Times, Republic of Ireland
The matchday one meeting between these opponents was one of the best games at EURO 2012 in terms of quality, so maybe that was why Spain didn't settle for the 2-2 draw with Croatia that would have eliminated Italy – simply because there were not many sides that would have been worthy opponents for them in the final. Italy should be thankful to Sergio Ramos for not scoring in injury time with a cheeky back-heel that would have ended the match with a solid exclamation mark.
Sports Daily, Russia
This was much more than a high-scoring victory – it was a toast to good football. [David] Silva, [Jordi] Alba, [Fernando] Torres and [Juan] Mata combined to beat an Italy side that couldn't find a solution against a group of musketeers playing under the tutelage of wise old coach Vicente del Bosque.
El País, Spain
Rub your eyes this morning, but with caution so as not to wipe away the memory of what happened. Spain achieved what nobody else before them ever had and they did so as nobody could have imagined: without suffering. This was the latest pirouette performed by a formidable team. They have taken us in their arms to paradise.
Immediately after the final, the pitch was invaded by an adorable group of the champions' children, who had longed for their fathers. In the penalty area, Fernando Torres' little daughter Nora toddled around, clutching a doll. At last, daddy's job was done. When Iker Casillas lifted the trophy afterwards in a rain of confetti, it weighed next to nothing. But wait a few years. Wait ten years. Twenty. The more time passes, the heavier this trophy will feel. It will be a long time before we fully realise how great Spain's achievement really is.
If everybody witnessed a typical Italian job [against Germany] in Warsaw on Thursday, then in Sunday's Spanish bullfight the Italian bull was slain. La Furia Roja confidently controlled the game and kept their rivals on a leash, while the footballers of the Squadra Azzurra – after intense battles with the English and Germans and without an extra day to recover – stumbled at every step on the Kyiv pitch.
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