Spain have been crowned Euro 2012 champions after a record-breaking 4-0 victory over Italy in the final on Sunday.
La Roja's victory at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, added to their Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 successes, makes them the first team in
history to win three major international tournaments in a row.
David Silva opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour with a header, before a lung-busting run and finish from Jordi Alba put Spain
two goals ahead by half-time.
The second half saw chances for both teams, but the match changed on the hour mark after Thiago Motta was strechered off moments after coming off the bench, reducing Italy to 10 men with all three substitutions
There was no way back for the Azzurri after that, as Spain put on a passing exhibition to drain the life out of Cesare Prandelli's men. With time running out, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata added clinchers in the 84th and 88th minutes respectively to capture the European Championship for
La Roja for the third time.
The milestones continued to fall for Spain, with 13 members of their squad becoming the first players to play in and win two Euro
finals, while Torres' late goal gave him the Golden Boot.
Spain wasted little time in dictating the tempo, Sergio Ramos sent an early header off-target, but the first real chance fell to Xavi, whose one-two with Fabregas ended with a crashing drive that flashed inches
over the bar after 10 minutes.
It was an opportunity to mark the initial dominance of
Spain, and four minutes later, La Roja would find themselves ahead.
Andres Iniesta was the architect, threading in Fabregas on the overlap down the right, who clipped towards Silva at the near post to
glance a header past Gianluigi Buffon.
The Azzurri were handed a blow after 21 minutes, as defender Giorgio Chiellini limped off after picking up an injury, with Frederico Balzaretti coming on. Moments later, Gerard Pique became the first player
booked for a crunching challenge that sent Antonio Cassano flying.
Just past the half hour mark, the Spanish captain was
called into action again to parry Cassano’s strong drive from 20 yards out.
The Azzurri kept up the pressure in midfield, as viewers were treated to the somewhat unfamiliar sight of Spain playing through the
However, La Roja proved that they were just as effective on the breakaway, as they doubled their advantage four minutes before half-time
through a move started, and finished by Alba.
The left-back played the ball to Xavi near the halfway line, surged behind the Italian defence, and latched onto the Barcelona
midfielder’s pinpoint return pass to slot his side further ahead.
Spain were jubilant, but had Casillas to thank once again for punching clear Riccardo Montolivo’s attempt from outside the area to maintain
their two-goal lead at the interval.
Prandelli attempted to respond, hauling off Cassano for Antonio Di Natale and the Udinese striker nearly struck gold with his first
touch, heading Abate’s inviting cross narrowly over the bar.
That sparked a period of intense Spain pressure, where Fabregas fired just off target before last-ditch blocks from Buffon and Ignazio Abate
denied Iniesta from close range.
Italy were then lucky to escape a penalty after an apparent handball by Leonardo Bonucci in the box, but referee Pedro Proenca
waved play on, to the incredulity of many members of the Spanish team.
Di Natale managed to find space once more in the area, but Casillas was equal to his well-struck attempt before smothering the
forward’s chance from the rebound.
Shortly after, Silva and Montolivo made way for Pedro and
Motta as both coaches looked to shuffle their packs.
But Motta, barely three minutes after making his appearance, was taken off on a stretcher clutching his hamstring, leaving Italy
a man short as Prandelli had already used all three of his substitutions.
The Azzurri were floored by the setback as Spain, a man up and two goals ahead, began to kill the game off with large periods of
leisurely possession in the opposition half.
With 16 minutes left, Fabregas was called to the bench as Torres, scorer of the only goal in the 2008 final, came on for the final
At that point, the only question remaining was whether Spain would score again, and they nearly achieved that feat with a bad miss
from Pedro, which was tempered somewhat by the offside flag.
However, Torres would make no such mistake with six minutes remaining, finishing another perfect through pass from Xavi to confirm his status as the first player to score twice in a Euro final, while Xavi
became the first to register two final assists.
Mata replaced Iniesta late on as the Spanish parties began in the stands, and they were kicked up a notch two minutes from the end
as he stroked home Torres' cutback to make it 4-0.
|Coach: Del Bosque|
for David Silva 59'
for Fàbregas 75'
for Iniesta 87'
|Rodriguez living the dream at Real|
|Stielike expecting Australia in final|
|Mourinho not dwelling on Bradford defeat|
|Schweinsteiger under no pressure to extend Bayern contract|
|Herd heads to Wigan on loan|
|Inter defensive duo suffer hamstring tears|
|UAE coach Ali eyes Asian Cup final|
|Gattuso dreaming of managing Rangers|
|Fiorentina agree return of Gilardino on loan|
|Sakho hits back at critics|
|South Korea 2 Iraq 0: Kim books sixth Asian Cup final place|
|Sturridge could return against Chelsea|
|Zinnbauer backs Drobny as Hamburg first choice|
|Drogba targeting Chelsea stay|
|Postecoglou confident Australia squad can progress|
|UEFA does not have the courage to run against me - Blatter|
|Foster: Anichebe unplayable|
|Australia v UAE: Japan´s absence a boon for Asian Cup hosts|
|Milan v Lazio: Injury-hit visitors aiming for back-to-back wins|
|Trezeguet confirms retirement|
|No ´major problems´ with Nicolas Frey´s head wound|
|Strootman injury not "serious" - Garcia|
|No Paraguay, USA for retiring Riquelme|
|Saint-Etienne did not try to play football - Blanc|
|Primeira Liga Review: Sporting move within one point of Porto|
|La Liga Review: Parejo downs Sevilla, Resino starts with a point|
|Serie A Review: Juve go seven points clear as Roma draw again|
|Ligue 1 Review: Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon make Marseille pay for slip-up|
|Burkina Faso coach puts AFCON exit down to bad luck|
|Saint-Etienne 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Ibrahimovic scores in repeat performance|
|Shenaishil optimistic despite Kasim absence|
|Walcott: Goal has been a long time coming|
|DR Congo v Tunisia: Leekens warns against complacency|
|Congo 2 Burkina Faso 1: Thievy helps send 2013 runners-up crashing out|
|Gabon 0 Equatorial Guinea 2: Balboa and Iban put hosts through|
|McCarthy and Distin on road to recovery|
|Gil has hit the ground running - Lambert|
|Eredivisie Review: Ajax and Feyenoord lose ground after dour draw, Eagles secure big win|
|Wenger confirms Gabriel move is imminent|
|Eto´o presented to Sampdoria fans|
|Cape Verde v Zambia: Victory a must for 2012 winners to avoid elimination|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Arsenal 3: Walcott and Ozil among the goals for holders|
|Mancini upbeat despite ´cruel´ late defeat|
|Pogba revelling in rich vein of form|
|Aston Villa 2 Bournemouth 1: Gil helps under-fire Lambert breathe easy|
|Defour dismissed after Standard Liege banner taunt|
|Allardyce relieved with scrappy West Ham win|
|Sturridge ´happy man´ after return to Liverpool training|
|Inter 0 Torino 1: Moretti ends unbeaten run for top-four hopefuls|
|Juventus 2 Chievo 0: Pogba inspires victory as leaders march on|
|Bristol City 0 West Ham 1: Super sub Sakho sinks City|
|Hughes in talks over new Stoke deal|
|Delph signs new contract|
|Chelsea v Liverpool: Mourinho demands League Cup response|
|Football League Preview: Derby eye top two, Cambridge back to reality|
|Nani not giving up on Old Trafford career|
|Perth Glory 3 Melbourne Victory 3: Leaders stage two-goal late comeback|
|Neymar: Barca have no interest in Real results|
|Milan defender Mexes apologises for red card|
|South Korea v Iraq: Strange lead-up for Shenaishil´s men|
|Lazio´s Djordjevic thanks well-wishers ahead of ankle surgery|
|Iran´s Asian Cup appeal dismissed by AFC|
|Cech urges Chelsea to clean up FA Cup exit ´mess´|
|Henderson: Liverpool are up for the cup|
|Edimar wants ´normal´ ban for Real star Ronaldo|
|Pellegrini defends misfiring City strikers|
|Australia ready for UAE - Sainsbury|
|Blanc takes positives from past|
|Inzaghi promises ´something different´ at Milan|
|Mexes sorry for seeing red|
|La Liga Review: Wins for top three|
|Vitoria Guimaraes 2 Gil Vicente 2: Last-gasp penalty salvages point for hosts|
|Simeone marvels at Griezmann impact|
|Djordjevic to have x-ray on ankle problem|
|Eredivisie Review: PSV go seven points clear, Heerenveen cruise|
|Luis Enrique backs himself on Suarez omission|
|Lazio 3 Milan 1: Parolo and Klose seal victory|
|Cameroon 1 Guinea 1: Draw ensures Group D stays finely poised|
|Rodgers reveals Sturridge fitness boost after Bolton stalemate|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Rayo Vallecano 1: Griezmann inspires routine win|
|Gabriel move agreed, Campbell to join Villarreal on loan|
|Gabon v Equatorial Guinea: Neighbours face off for quarter-final berth|
|FA Cup Review: Chelsea stunned by Bradford as Middlesbrough beat Manchester City|
|Ronaldo apologises for red card|
|Pulis eyes room for improvement|
|Liverpool 0 Bolton Wanderers 0: Championship side frustrate Anfield to earn replay|
|Karanka hails players after stunning City|
|Elche 0 Barcelona 6: Neymar and Messi inspire resounding win|
|League Two Review: Wycombe and Burton held, Shrewsbury up to second|
|Pardew lauds Palace performance|
|Pochettino laments late collapse|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic stretch lead, Inverness and Dundee United keep up chase|
|Parkinson revels in huge upset after humbling Chelsea|
|Bayern targeting unbeaten Bundesliga season - Robben|
|Pearson: FA Cup win can breed confidence|
|League One Review: Dons close gap, Peterborough end run|
|Ivory Coast 1 Mali 1: Gradel rescues Renard´s men|
|Fulham seal Richards loan|
|Pellegrini: UAE trip had no impact|
|Koeman blames defeats on defensive lapses|
|Gundogan injury mars Dortmund preparations|
|Championship Review: Ighalo stars as Blackpool capitulate|
|Chelsea defeat a ´disgrace´ - Mourinho|
|Monk rues missed opportunity|
|Manchester City 0 Middlesbrough 2: Boro stun City with FA Cup shock|
|Chelsea 2 Bradford City 4: League One outfit dump out Premier League leaders|
|Tottenham 1 Leicester City 2: Late turnaround stuns Spurs|
|Cordoba 1 Real Madrid 2: Bale steals late win as Ronaldo sees red|
|Birmingham City 1 West Brom 2: Anichebe seals derby triumph|
|Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 3: Pardew´s men reach fifth round|
|Sunderland 0 Fulham 0: Defoe fails to fire on home debut|
|Bowyer hails ´terrific´ Blackburn|
|Rochdale v Stoke City: Shawcross in race to be fit for cup clash|
|Blackburn Rovers 3 Swansea City 1: Late goals snatch victory for Championship side|
|Congo v Burkina Faso: Le Roy vows to attack|
|Roma still in race for Scudetto - Garcia|
|Mancini coy on Toure links|
|Mertens rules out Napoli exit|
|Barzagli back in Juve squad|
|A-League Review: Adelaide and Sydney rack up the goals|
|Real have signed a ´diamond´ in Silva, says Oliveira|
|Queiroz: How can Williams sleep at night?|
|Asian Cup history ´the focus´ for Australia - Kruse|
|Pogba could be the world´s ´most expensive´ player|
|Australia international joins Dundee United|
|Real Madrid is a ´dream come true´ - Silva|
|Van Gaal angered by first-half showing in cup stalemate|