The UEFA EURO 2012 had its climax on Sunday, when reigning World and European Champions Spain took on a reinvigorated Italy at the Olympic Stadium, Kyiv. The Spaniards won the clash of the last two FIFA World Champions to the delight of the huge numbers of Spanish fans in the Ukrainian capital and create the football history.
Spain had the better start into the game and made clear that they were up to the mark to defend their title. Star midfielder Xavi had the first chance of the game, when he received a lay-off by Cesc Fàbregas and fired a shot from the edge of the area. But Xavi’s attempt went over the crossbar and Italy keeper Gigi Buffon had no need to panic.
But Spain pushed forward once again and they were rewarded in the 14th minute. A world-class through ball by Andres Iniesta found Fàbregas in the Italian box, before the latter beat Giorgio Chiellini to the byeline and cut back a perfect cross to allow David Silva to head in from six yards.
Italy didn’t surrender and started to create some pressure on the Iberians. A free-kick by Andrea Pirlo missed the target, while a long-range effort by striker Antonio Cassano was only denied its way into the goal by a on-alert Iker Casillas.
Spain didn’t look to much impressed by the Italian attacks and their coolness paid off once again moments before the half-time whistle. An excellent deep pass by Xavi found Jordi Alba in the centre of the Italian defence and alone infront of Buffon. Alba had no problem to find the back of the net with a left-footed shot and increase the Spanish lead.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli decided to make a change to his front-line at half-time and brought on Antonio Di Natale instead of Cassano. And Di Natale had the first chance of the second half, when a cross from the right flank was met by a powerful header from the new striker. But Di Natale’s header went over the bar.
Italy were lucky not to concede a penalty moments later, when Bonucci handled the ball in the box. Portuguese referee Pedro Proença misjudged the situation and let the game go on without the much expected penalty call.
Antonio Di Natale made his presence felt once again in the 51st minute as the substitute received a pass by Riccardo Montolivo and his shot was only denied by Spain keeper Iker Casillas.
Italy looked passionate to pull one goal back and to get them back into the game. But they were unfortunate, when substitute Thiago Motta had to leave the pitch due to an injury only three minutes after he came on for Montolivo. The Italians had already brought on all their three subs and had to continue with ten players.
The tempo dropped after the injury and Spain were in full control of the match. It seemed like Italy had given up and they preferred to defend and wait for counter-attacks.
Spain on the other hand had no pressure to score more goals and they did enough to keep the possession and to avoid any Italian attacks.
Fernando Torres increased the Spanish lead in the 84th minute, when he was released by Xavi with a fine pass and slotted home past Gigi Buffon.
Substitute Juan Mata sealed the Spanish victory four minutes later. Torres slided a pass square to Mata to roll in to an open goal to make it an impressive 4-0 win for Vicente Del Bosque’s team.
Spain are the first team to to defend the title in the history of the European Championship and the masters of the “Tiki-Taka” have also clinched a historic international title hat-trick (UEFA EURO 2008, FIFA World Cup 2010, UEFA EURO 2012).
My congratulations to the Spanish team and all Spanish football fans around the world! Enjoy the fiesta!
UEFA EURO 2012 – Final
at the Olympic Stadium, Kyiv
SPAIN 4-0 ITALY
1-0 David Silva (14′)
2-0 Jordi Alba (41′)
3-0 Fernando Torres (84′)
4-0 Juan Mata (88′)
1-Casillas [C]; 17-Arbeloa, 3-Piqué, 15-Sergio Ramos, 18-Jordi Alba; 8-Xavi Hernández, 16-Busquets, 14-Xabi Alonso; 6-Iniesta (87′ 13-Juan Mata), 10-Fàbregas (75′ 9-Torres), 21-Silva (59′ 7-Pedro Rodríguez)
12-Víctor Valdés, 23-Reina; 2-Raúl Albiol, 4-Javi Martínez, 5-Juanfran, 11-Negredo, 19-Llorente, 20-Santi Cazorla, 22-Jesús Navas
1-Buffon [C]; 7-Abate, 15-Barzagli, 19-Bonucci, 3-Chiellini (21′ 6-Balzaretti); 21-Pirlo; 8-Marchisio, 18-Montolivo (57′ 5-Thiago Motta), 16-De Rossi; 9-Balotelli, 10-Cassano (46′ 11-Di Natale)
12-Sirigu, 14-De Sanctis; 2-Maggio, 4-Ogbonna, 13-Giaccherini, 17-Borini, 20-Giovinco, 22-Diamanti, 23-Nocerino
Pedro Proença (Portugal)
Bertino Miranda (Portugal), Ricardo Santos (Portugal)
Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey)
Additional Assistant Referees
Manuel De Sousa (Portugal), Duarte Gomes (Portugal)
25′ Gerard Piqué (Spain)
45′ Andrea Barzagli (Italy)
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