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EURO 2012: all you need to know

Spanish football's golden age continued with a second successive EURO win.

Juan Mata celebrates scoring Spain's fourth goal in the UEFA EURO 2012 final win against Italy.
Juan Mata celebrates scoring Spain's fourth goal in the UEFA EURO 2012 final win against Italy. Getty Images

Who won EURO 2012?

Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the final of UEFA EURO 2012 on 1 July at the Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, the most emphatic win in EURO final history completing an unprecedented hat-trick of major tournament wins (EURO 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2012). David Silva broke the deadlock with a rare header on 14 minutes, with Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata also on target. "It was more than just winning," reflected coach Vicente del Bosque. "These last four extraordinary years where Spanish football has been going strong give us a legacy to take into the future with great responsibility."

Who were the top scorers at EURO 2012?

EURO 2012 final highlights: Spain 4-0 Italy
EURO 2012 final highlights: Spain 4-0 Italy

Six players finished the finals level on three goals:

Mario Balotelli (Italy)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Alan Dzagoev (Russia)
Mario Gomez (Germany)
Mario Mandžukić (Croatia)
Fernando Torres (Spain)

Torres was awarded the Golden Boot because, like Mario Gomez, he had also been credited with an assist, but had taken 93 minutes less (i.e. 189 minutes' playing time) than the German (282) to rack up his goals. In addition, he became the first player to score in two EURO finals (having also found the net in 2008) and the third player to win the EURO as top scorer following Denmark’s Henrik Larsen (1992) and his Spain team-mate David Villa (2008).

The Netherlands' Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the runaway top scorer in qualifying with 12 goals, never looking back after hitting a hat-trick in their opening game against San Marino; however, he failed to add to that tally as the Dutch lost all three of their finals games. The Schalke striker had come to Poland and Ukraine in top form, having bagged 29 league goals in 2011/12 – his best figures in seven Bundesliga seasons.

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

Where was EURO 2012 held?

Neighbours Poland and Ukraine hosted the 2012 final tournament, with games taking place in four cities in either country. Warsaw's National Stadium was used for the opening match – among others – and there were also games in Gdańsk, Poznań and Wrocław. Kyiv's Olympiyskiy Stadium was the venue for the final, with Donetsk, Lviv and Kharkhiv the other host cities in Ukraine.

Who managed the winning team at EURO 2012?

Vicente del Bosque led Spain to EURO 2012 glory and, in doing so, became the first coach to complete the elusive hat-trick of UEFA Champions League, World Cup and European Championship. Retaining the Henri Delaunay Cup with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Italy, Del Bosque paid tribute to his players after an "extraordinary" performance, adding: "This is a great era for Spanish football."

Who was the winning captain at EURO 2012?

 Iker Casillas captained Spain to their second successive EURO victory in 2012
Iker Casillas captained Spain to their second successive EURO victory in 2012 Getty Images

Iker Casillas won his 100th Spain game in the final against Italy to become the first player to captain a team to two EURO successes, having also worn the armband at EURO 2008. An outstanding servant for Real Madrid and Spain, the goalkeeper kept clean sheets throughout the knockout phases of both EURO 2008 and EURO 2012 and marked the EURO 2012 final with his 79th international shut-out.

What was the format for EURO 2012?

The final tournament, which ran from 8 June to 1 July, featured 16 teams, divided into four groups for the group stage. The group winners (Czech Republic, England, Germany and Spain) then faced runners-up from other groups (France, Greece, Italy, Portugal) in the quarter-finals, the remainder of the tournament being a knockout competition.

How many teams featured in EURO 2012?

Sixteen teams participated in EURO 2012, while 51 countries entered qualifying (co-hosts Poland and Ukraine qualified automatically). Serbia and Montenegro competed as separate nations for the first time.

How did EURO 2012 qualifying work?

EURO 2012 qualifying took place from August 2010 to November 2011. The 51 teams were split into nine qualifying groups (six made up of six teams and three made up of five), with all sides playing each other home and away. The winners of each group plus the runner-up with the best record against the sides placed first, third, fourth and fifth in their pool (Sweden) qualified directly. The other second-placed teams entered the two-legged play-offs for the four remaining final places, Croatia, Czech Republic, Portugal and Republic of Ireland making it through.

Who was in the EURO 2012 team of the tournament?

Highlights: The best goals of EURO 2012
Highlights: The best goals of EURO 2012

GK: Iker Casillas
DF: Fábio Coentrão
DF: Pepe
DF: Sergio Ramos
DF: Jordi Alba
MF: Smai Khedira
MF: Andrea Pirlo
MF: Andrés Iniesta
MF: Xavi Hernández
FW: Mario Balotelli
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo

Andrés Iniesta was named as the Best Player of the Tournament, and later received the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for the 2011/12 season. Speaking of their 2012 campaign, the Spanish midfielder said: "It was more difficult [than 2008] because it was a few years later, and more difficult because all our opponents wanted to beat the defending EURO champions and world champions."

Who scored the first goal at EURO 2012?

Poland's Robert Lewandowski scored the first goal of EURO 2012, burying a downward header 17 minutes into his side's opener against Greece in Warsaw. The striker said: "It was a wonderful feeling, it’s hard to describe in words. It was not only the first goal at the European Championship, it was the first goal for Poland and the first at the new national stadium." The gloss was taken off the celebration when Greece equalised. The game finished 1-1.

Robert Lewandowski headed home in the opening game
Robert Lewandowski headed home in the opening gameGetty Images

Faroe Islands' Jóan Edmundsson had scored the first goal in qualifying after 28 minutes of his team's game against Estonia in Tallinn on 11 August 2010, making him the second Faroese player to get the first goal of a EURO qualification phase (John Petersen set the precedent for EURO 2004). Estonia turned things around with two added-time goals and made it as far as the play-offs, where they lost to Ireland.

Five top facts about EURO 2012

• At 73 years and 93 days, Giovanni Trapattoni became the oldest coach to grace a EURO when the Republic of Ireland lost 2-0 to his homeland Italy.

• Of the 76 goals in 31 games at EURO 2012, a record 22 were headers, including Lewandowski's first of the finals as Poland drew with Greece.

• Spain made 810 completed passes to Ireland's 198 when the sides met. Xavi Hernández alone managed 127, a record in regulation time for a EURO match.

• Spain became the first team to retain the Henri Delaunay Cup and, having won the 2010 World Cup, the first to seal three successive major titles.

• Fernando Torres became the first player to score in two EURO finals, adding a late goal in Kyiv to his decisive strike in Vienna four years earlier.

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