EURO Classics: Spain 4-0 Italy, 2012

Watch the most emphatic final win in EURO history on UEFA.tv now – and get the background here.

La Roja saved their best until last, overwhelming Italy to complete an unprecedented hat-trick of major tournament wins as Spanish football's golden age continued.

Watch in full on UEFA.tv


Context

EURO 2012 semi-final: Germany 1-2 Italy
EURO 2012 semi-final: Germany 1-2 Italy

Champions in 2008, Spain hoped to become the first team to retain the Henri Delaunay Cup at UEFA EURO 2012. Having also won the 2010 FIFA World Cup, they were targeting three successive major titles. Spain actually drew 1-1 with Italy in the sides' 2012 opener, but made it past France and then Portugal to reach the final. Winners in 1968 and runners-up in 2000, Italy had overcome England and Germany to get to Kyiv and the trophy match.

Key players

Iker Casillas: Spain's captain had landed his fifth Liga title with Real Madrid ahead of the tournament, and kept clean sheets throughout the knockout phase in Poland and Ukraine – repeating his 2008 heroics. The final was his 100th international appearance.

Andrea Pirlo: At 33, the midfielder had collected back-to-back Serie A titles with Juventus coming into EURO 2012. Man of the match three times on the road to Kyiv, Pirlo's chipped quarter-final penalty against England reiterated his class.

EURO 2012 highlights: Spotlight on Andrés Iniesta
EURO 2012 highlights: Spotlight on Andrés Iniesta

Andrés Iniesta: The midfield maestro's creative influence proved integral to Spain's pathway to the final. His Barcelona side had finished second in the Liga in 2011/12 but still captured the Spanish Super Cup and Copa de Rey.

What happened

A rare headed goal from David Silva broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, after the midfielder met Cesc Fàbregas' delivery. Jordi Alba was next, latching onto Xavi Hernández's through ball and completing a fabulous run by slotting past Gianluigi Buffon minutes before the half-time whistle.

Brought off the bench in the 75th minute, Fernando Torres steered in La Roja's third of the night, becoming the first player to score in two EURO finals. Adding extra sheen on 88 minutes, Torres selflessly teed up Juan Mata to make it 4-0 – a EURO final record result – as Spain clinched their hat-trick of tournament triumphs.

Fernando Torres: All his EURO 2012 goals
Fernando Torres: All his EURO 2012 goals

Reaction

Sergio Ramos, Spain defender: "Some people are blessed with a magic touch and Fernando [Torres] is one of them. Of course, there's a lot of effort, dedication, hard work and professionalism behind that. He takes care of himself, he lives for this, and he also has this gift for finals."

Andrés Iniesta, Spain midfielder: "We had the perfect game. We dominated, moved the ball quickly, and created lots of chances. I think it's one of the national team's greatest games."

Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach: "You can never be happy after a defeat; you always want to win. But the longer the game went on, the more I came to reflect on how well we've played. When we fly over Kyiv and see the stadium lights, I will have pangs of disappointment, but I leave proud."

Aftermath

Best goals of UEFA EURO 2012
Best goals of UEFA EURO 2012

The 2012 showpiece arguably marked the end of an era for these two sides. Yes, Spain and Italy went to the 2014 World Cup, but both bowed out at the group stage. When the countries then met again at EURO 2016, goals from Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pellè saw off the Spaniards in the last 16.

Vicente del Bosque stepped down as coach in the wake of that defeat, while the Azzurri were knocked out by Germany on penalties in the quarter-finals. Italy subsequently failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, an event at which Spain lost to hosts Russia in the round of 16.