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Spain overpower Italy to win UEFA EURO 2012

Published: Sunday 1 July 2012, 22.49CET
Spain 4-0 Italy
Vicente del Bosque's side saved their best until last at UEFA EURO 2012 as they overwhelmed an Italy outfit that ran out of steam.
by John Atkin
from Olympic Stadium

Match statistics

SpainItaly

Goals scored4
 
0
Possession (%)52
 
48
Total attempts14
 
11
on target9
 
6
off target5
 
5
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork0
 
0
Corners3
 
3
Offsides3
 
3
Yellow cards1
 
1
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed17
 
10
Fouls suffered9
 
17

Standings

 
Published: Sunday 1 July 2012, 22.49CET

Spain overpower Italy to win UEFA EURO 2012

Spain 4-0 Italy
Vicente del Bosque's side saved their best until last at UEFA EURO 2012 as they overwhelmed an Italy outfit that ran out of steam.

Spain saved their best until last at UEFA EURO 2012, a final-record 4-0 victory in Kyiv completing an unprecedented hat-trick of major tournament wins.

Against a flagging Italy side whose thrilling knockout campaign looked to have caught up with them, Spain were in control from the moment David Silva broke the deadlock with a rare header on 14 minutes. A barnstorming second with half-time approaching from the indefatigable Jordi Alba, his first international goal, left the Azzurri with a mountain to climb. The sight of Thiago Motta, their third substitute, being carried off on a stretcher ended all hope, causing Italy to play out the last 28 minutes with ten men – and Spain replacements Fernando Torres and Juan Mata fully capitalised.

This was billed as a meeting of great creative minds, of conductors in their prime, of Xavi Hernández against Andrea Pirlo; but for much of the opening phase it was a one-man show. Spain's No8 picked up the baton from the off, in harmony with Andrés Iniesta, dictating La Roja's now familiar staccato movement as Italy were forced deeper and deeper. The olés had already begun among the sizeable Spanish contingent in the 63,170 crowd when, just before the quarter-hour, the pair combined to devastating effect.

Xavi, who had fired narrowly over moments earlier, fed Iniesta and his finely weighted pass allowed Cesc Fàbregas to easily outstrip Giorgio Chiellini on the inside-right channel. There was still plenty to do but how simple Spain made it look as Fàbregas pulled a sharp ball back for Silva, all 170cm of him, to glance his header in. It proved a disappointed Chiellini's last real action as he soon succumbed to the thigh problem that has hampered him throughout his time in Poland and Ukraine.

A heavy-legged Italy could ill afford the double blow, but impressively they fought their way back into the contest. Pirlo, inevitably, was their driving force, the beating drum that pulled the strings at the back and sounded the horn to attack. Not that there was much of that. In fact, Pirlo's most telling contribution of the first half was a superb last-ditch block on Iniesta. Yet try as he might – and he did try – the 33-year-old could not be everywhere.

Spain's second was a little too easy, though. Standing on the touchline near halfway, Fàbregas nodded Iker Casillas's clearance to Alba who turned the ball into Xavi before haring forward. The Azzurri back line did not seem to notice but the erudite Xavi did, advancing forward before slotting his new FC Barcelona club-mate in. The composed left-footed finish that followed would have pleased even the injured David Villa, watching in the stands with Carles Puyol.

If it appeared that nothing could now deny Spain a first competitive victory against the Azzurri in 92 years – at least over 90 minutes – but Italy were not done yet. Antonio Di Natale, scorer in the 1-1 group stage draw between these sides three weeks ago, came on for Antonio Cassano and within six minutes he might have scored twice. His first chance, a header, was far from straightforward, but the striker could have done better when Riccardo Montolivo's pass found him in space. He snatched at the opportunity and the advancing Casillas blocked.

Yet Italy's slender hopes of mounting a comeback disappeared when Motta departed forlornly down the tunnel. It was left to Xavi to resume his conducting, slowing things down until, with six minutes remaining, he upped the tempo for a rousing crescendo. First he robbed Pirlo in midfield and set up Torres for a goal to add to his strike in the UEFA EURO 2008 final – a 'double' no one had managed before – then he combined with Torres to release Mata, just on, to seal an emphatic win. It has been an emphatic four years.

Last updated: 25/09/14 4.39CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/matches/round=15175/match=2003351/postmatch/report/index.html#spain+reign+once+again

Lineups

Spain

Spain

Italy

Italy

1
CasillasIker Casillas (GK) (C)
1
BuffonGianluigi Buffon (GK) (C)
3
PiquéGerard Piqué
Yellow Card25
3
ChielliniGiorgio Chiellini
Substitution21
6
IniestaAndrés Iniesta
Substitution87
7
AbateIgnazio Abate
8
Xavi HernándezXavi Hernández
8
MarchisioClaudio Marchisio
10
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas
Substitution75
9
BalotelliMario Balotelli
14
Xabi AlonsoXabi Alonso
10
CassanoAntonio Cassano
Substitution46
15
RamosSergio Ramos
15
BarzagliAndrea Barzagli
Yellow Card45
16
BusquetsSergio Busquets
16
De RossiDaniele De Rossi
17
ArbeloaÁlvaro Arbeloa
18
MontolivoRiccardo Montolivo
Substitution57
18
Jordi AlbaJordi Alba
Goal41
19
BonucciLeonardo Bonucci
21
SilvaDavid Silva
Goal14
Substitution59
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo

Substitutes

12
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
12
SiriguSalvatore Sirigu (GK)
23
ReinaPepe Reina (GK)
14
De SanctisMorgan De Sanctis (GK)
2
AlbiolRaúl Albiol
2
MaggioChristian Maggio
4
Javi MartínezJavi Martínez
4
OgbonnaAngelo Ogbonna
5
JuanfranJuanfran
5
Thiago MottaThiago Motta
Substitution57
7
Pedro RodríguezPedro Rodríguez
Substitution59
6
BalzarettiFederico Balzaretti
Substitution21
9
TorresFernando Torres
Substitution75
Goal84
11
Di NataleAntonio Di Natale
Substitution46
11
NegredoÁlvaro Negredo
13
GiaccheriniEmanuele Giaccherini
13
Juan MataJuan Mata
Substitution87
Goal88
17
BoriniFabio Borini
19
LlorenteFernando Llorente
20
GiovincoSebastian Giovinco
20
Santi CazorlaSanti Cazorla
22
DiamantiAlessandro Diamanti
22
Jesús NavasJesús Navas
23
NocerinoAntonio Nocerino

Coach

Vicente del Bosque (ESP) Cesare Prandelli (ITA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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