The style and class with which Spain overwhelmed Italy 4-2 in Tuesday's UEFA European Under-21 Championship final were not lost on the media in either country. Despite a desire to foresee greatness in their own ranks, Italy's newspapers could not look beyond La Rojita's masterclass or understate Thiago Alcántara's hat-trick. For the victors, it was business as usual and a time to focus on and absorb the enduring power of an unrelenting footballing nation.
Phenomenal players save themselves for the grandest of occasions, the special moments, those dates with destiny. Such was the case with the son of Mazinho and big brother to Rafinha, Thiago, born in Genoa and of Spanish-Brazilian nationality. A special person who paid tribute to [the injured] Sergio Canales during the celebrations and who – just as in Denmark two years ago – raised his head in the final to guide Spain to their fourth European title and second in a row.
The Spanish footballing hegemony continues and shows no signs of relenting. The nation is a never-ending production line of sublime talent, disciplined magicians who play and get along together very well.
From the first whistle in the opener against Russia until the moment the camera flashes faded at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem yesterday, Spain were the best team. Few could stand up to this golden generation whose destiny already seemed written [before the tournament]. Spain demonstrated in Israel that they have the players and a style to continue at the very top level.
To play just like the current world champions will require talents like Isco, [Asier] Illarramendi, [Marc] Bartra and [David] de Gea, players gifted enough to inherit the legacy of those ahead of them. It is possible that Spain might not continue to win everything, but with this style and conveyor belt of talent, they will always have a chance and, most importantly, they will continue to enjoy themselves.
A job carried out to perfection and from the script established by their seniors. High-class football, as elaborate as it was lethal, was delivered with the signature of Thiago, the captain and FC Barcelona player who scored three times. The fans now come knowing what to expect: a quick rhythm in terms of ball movement, passes to feet and devastating penetration up front. That's how the senior team play and thus it was interpreted fantastically by the juniors. In the end, Spain deservedly lifted the trophy.
Gazzetta dello Sport
The illusion did not last long because right now Spain are on another level. Italy toiled in vain to respond but they were no match for their opponents. Thiago is from another planet, Isco is phenomenal but Julen Lopetegui's team are more than individuals. They are all good players who perform a certain brand of football which they have learned to play for a long time. Like their older brothers, they are European champions, who beat us in the final by scoring four goals.
Corriere della Sera
The player who scored three goals in the final was born in San Pietro Vernotico, Lecce, but unfortunately he was not playing for Italy. Thiago and his brother Rafinha were two rough diamonds when they moved to Spain with their father – Barcelona made them pure. There is nothing to be ashamed of when you give everything until the final whistle and lose against someone who is better than you.
Spain are from another planet, we just have to admire them.
Corriere dello Sport
Spain are already great – but we will be as well.
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