Spain tops Italy 4-0 to win 2012 Euro Cup championship

Spain has been crowned champion at the 2012 Euro Cup, defeating Italy 4-0 in the final game.

The Spanish team also won the Euro Cup back in 2008, defeating Germany 1-0.

Goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba in the first half gave Spain a convincing lead. Fernando Torres and fellow substitute Juan Mata added goals in the last six minutes.
Italy’s task was tough enough with 11 players, and it became impossible with just 10 after the 64th minute.

All its substitutes were used when midfielder Thiago Motta, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, was taken off due to injury.

The victory lifted Spain to a record third straight major title, after winning Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. The hat trick of titles is an unprecedented feat for a European team, as is successfully defending the championship.

Spain even allowed Italy the majority of first-half possession, yet its trademark quick passing game was lethal when required.

Spain captain Iker Casillas was outstanding in keeping Italy’s attack at bay for his 10th consecutive clean sheet in tournament knockout matches.

The victory was the most comprehensive in a European Championship final, beating West Germany’s 3-0 win over the Soviet Union in 1972.

It was also a perfect response to Spain’s critics, who said the world and European champion had become boring.

Toronto FC midfielder and Canadian National team member, Julian de Guzman told 680News he carries strong ties to one country represented in the final.

“I’ve been a huge Spanish fan. I’ve been rooting for them since day one and I’m not surprised that they made it to the finals,” he said.

De Guzman said he loves the passion displayed throughout the city during the European Cup but come World Cup time, he hopes to see another flag flying.

“It would be great to see the maple leaf dominate that presence and just by us playing in the World Cup.”
This was not the first time Italy and Spain faced each other in this tournament. They played to a one all tie in the first game of the group stage.

Del Bosque added another trophy to his already illustrious cabinet as Spain became the first European country to successfully defend its continental crown with a 4-0 victory over Italy at Euro 2012.

Del Bosque joined West Germany’s Helmut Schoen as the only other coach to have won consecutive world and European majors.

As always, he preferred not to take any of credit for carrying on the success started by predecessor Luis Aragones, who implemented the slick style passing game that carried it to the Euro 2008 title.

“I want to dedicate the victory to all of the people who have participated in the successes over these recent years, the ones who have helped create what we know today as the Spanish national team,” said Del Bosque, who matched Schoen’s achievement of winning the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup.

Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque, left, kicks the ball as Italy's Federico Balzaretti tries to take a throw-in during the Euro 2012 soccer championship final between Spain and Italy in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, July 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)The 61-year-old Del Bosque added the only major accolade missing after having won a pair of Champions League and Spanish league titles, an Intercontinental Cup and a European Super Cup with Real Madrid.

Spain has now won three straight major tournaments, ensuring the team’s status as one of the greatest sides of all time.

“We just keep going forward without realizing the weight of the achievements we have managed,” midfielder Andres Iniesta said. “Spanish football is experiencing such beautiful years and that’s what we have to be proud of, that people can identify with our playing style.”

Eight Spain players on Sunday had also featured in that 1-0 final win over Germany in Vienna four years ago, while 12 players from Spain’s current team were in the squad four years ago. West Germany’s Rainer Bonhof was the only previous player with a pair of winners’ medals.

Spain will vie to win its first Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013 before going into the World Cup as probable favourites one year later.

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