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Spain routs Italy to repeat as Euro champions

SpainWinsEuros (Getty)

If there was any remaining doubt about which team is the best in the world, least of all Europe, Spain erased those by posting the most convincing victory in European Championship Final history on Sunday.

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put the Spaniards in control, and second-half substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata provided late scores against a short-handed Italy side as Spain rolled to a 4-0 victory over Italy in Sunday's Euro final.

Criticized in some circles as having been too boring during the Euro 2012 tournament, Spain flexed their attacking muscle on Sunday, dominating an Italy side that came in looking like a capable adversary. Much like Spain's previous opponents, Italy could do little to stop Spain's precision passing game, or neutralize the playmakers in red, with Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Silva looking sharp all day. Italy enjoyed more possession against Spain than previous opponents, but could do little with that possession.

Silva opened the scoring by heading home a Cesc Fabregas cross, then Alba made it 2-0 with a beautiful run and finish off a perfect pass from Xavi.

Italy had some looks in the second half, with Antonio DiNatale being denied by Iker Casillas on one look, and that's as close as the "Azzurri" came.

The defeat was a brutal one for an Italy side that impressed and surprised on their way to the final. On Sunday, the 'Azzurri' couldn't cope with Spain's attack, and then suffered some bad luck in the second half when the team's final substitute, Thiago Motta, was forced to leave the match in the 64th minute, forcing Italy to finish the match a man down. Luck was not on Italy's side on Sunday, with the team forced to replace injured defensive standout Giorgio Chiellini in the first half.

What did you think of Spain's performance on Sunday? With three straight major tournament victories (two Euros and the 2010 World Cup), do you think this Spain team is the best team in history? Looking forward to seeing Italy build on this impressive tournament?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Why does this comparison of a 1970’s team and Today’s Spain team keep coming up as if there is any real comparison. Watch the great games of old, and watch the great games now. The speed of play, the talent on the ball, the conditioning of the players, the general speed of the players… there is truly no comparison anymore. A team from 40 years ago could in no way compete with the world’s best team of today. Too much advance in the game. Of course Pele was a great, and of Course the Brazil team of ’70 was the best the world had seen up to that point. But the world and futbol has moved on, friends. Let’s not do the game the diservice of treating it like it’s static.

  2. Intriguing as it is I don’t buy that Del Bosque is some sort of sneaky weasel.

    Spain play how they play and let other teams worry about adjusting to them. They don’t worry about the other team.

    So far, in all these years only two teams have beaten them when money was on the table, Bradley’s USMNT and the Swiss.

    You can stop them from playing, slow them down try to catch them on the break.

    You can fight fire with fire and beat them at their own game. Italy tried that. Spain saw that and said “You think you can play with us? Okay, here we go.”

    Italy are about as talented and well coached a team as Spain is likely to face. There is a reason why so few teams try to open up and attack Spain.

    The one thing I notice that no one talks too much about is that the core group of Spain, leaving their footballing skills aside for the moment,are almost all Champions of one kind or another, many times over.

    These guys know what it takes to win under pressure and none of their competitors can match that.

  3. As far as I’m concerned, Clint could fit in well with Spain or Barca. He is certainly a better “striker” right now than Torres.

    Let me put it this way Jeremy.

    I haven’t seen the other Spanish strikers play for Spain. There is probably for a good reason for that. I’ll assume Torres is the best of them because he gets more PT for Spain than they do.

    I’m guessing Del Bosque places importance on Torres’ familiarity with what has to be a pretty intricate system.

    Right now Torres is off his game.

    Fabregas is playing as well for Spain as I’ve ever seen him. And of course he is really familiar with the system. Playing Cesc at striker seems to have worked out pretty well. I defy anyone to prove that Spain would have done better with Torres startting ahead of Cesc.

    You don’t have to be listed as a “full time professional striker” to play the position well. Dempsey certainly isn’t and he doesn’t do too bad when he plays there. And he doesn’t even have the kind of support Fabregas does.

    Spain is great because their emphasis is on the team not just one man like so many USMNT fans to love to focus on.

  4. What a team. Not a fan but as much respect as can be held for a team is what I feel.

    Got the results.

    Congratulations to Spain

  5. I’m sure Italy would have gone more defensive but because Spain got the early goal, it force the Azzuri to open up and try to tie the score. Too bad the injury pretty much sealed their fate.

  6. For those who love to find the best of this or that, my 2c.

    This Spanish team is certainly one of the best of all time. They’ll compete head to head withthe Brazil 1970 team. Now, the younger ones will think that’s only one World Cup but keep in mind that Brazilian dynasty dates back to the world titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970, including a playmaker-striker boy called Pele…

    If Spain becomes the first European national team to win the World Cup in South America, they’ll be making a very strong statement for being the best of all time.

    Again, for those who care…

  7. The better team clearly won, but whatever slim chance Italy may have had was doomed by the decision to start an injured Chiellini (sp?) on the left. He got burned on the first goal, and had to come out in the first half. Kudos to Italy for refusing to park the bus against Spain, but they were just outgunned.

    And the answer to the trivia question remains the same: which was the last team to knock Spain out of a competitive tournament?

  8. Why is there no SBI report on Bradley to AS Roma? Four outlets already reporting the negotiations are done and the deal is set.

  9. I disagree with the “possum” theory you’ve posited. Spain played the same way, with the same philosophy, for basically the whole tournament. The difference was in how the teams played against them.

    Until Italy, every team had packed in and loaded the box with a 5 man line to take away the wide switching passes. That left Spain with the space to knock it around the middle, but without the space to have clear runs or shots on goal.

    Italy was the first team to actually open up a bit against them and play with some fluidity. Naturally, when this happens defenders become more tense and they allowed a very early goal. This game could have stayed 0-0 for quite a while if that first goal had been saved or deflected.

  10. Clearly you havent been watching the games. The only reason Spain played Tiki Taka against every team thus far, is because with the Exception of Portugal every single team played nothing but extreme bunker ball. And the finals showed you why, you simply cannot attack Spain, you just cant, their passing and first touch is so deadly accurate if you dont bunker your defense is going to get ripped to shreads. Italy tried to attack them but failed

  11. I had been totally dissatisfied throughout the tournament with Frabregas as a False Nine in the Spain line-up. And, quite frankly, the performance of that line-up until yesterday had not really been convincing. But Spain’s performance yesterday was breath-taking. None of this tiki-taka soccer ad nauseam soccer, but direct, vibrant, merciless, attacking soccer. My theory now is that Vincent Del Bosque is a sly ol’ dog and was focusing all along on a final against Germany, that this tiki-taka was just practice for Spain and Del Bosque was lulling the world (and the Germans) to sleep and saving this explosive strategy for the big game against Germany, who, like Italy, I have no doubt would have been caught by surprise and also punished.

    I was hoping Italy, as the underdog, could pull off an upset, but a third major game in three days after only two full days rest after the emotional defeat of Germany is asking too much. That said, I love this Spanish team and they are going to be as good, if not better, in WC2014. (Carlos Puyol? David Silva? Who needs them.) And I swear I will never question Del Bosque’s tactics again. (And I kind of like it that when his players are subbed out he doesn’t get all feely with them, does not even shake their hand, let’s them pass by to go straight to the bench.)

  12. Italy will only have to wait one year for a chance at revenge against Spain. Their victory over Germany qualified them for the Confederations Cup next year since Spain qualifies as the World Cup holders.

  13. Every Castellano in the Americas has to be going bananas. My Dad clearly said, Espana wins 3-0. Too many switches Espana has to offer on the offensive side he said, hardly anyone in Futbol can defend that for 90 minutes.

    We are clearly the greatest dynasty in the history of the game, bottom line… too many tournaments in today’s game and mi Espana continues to dominate them with ease.

    Now for Madrid to win it two important competitions and is all good.

  14. Call it what u want but they are good at the one thing every team in any sport trys to do; impose their style, dominate the pace of the game and win. Have to respect that.

  15. I’m reminded of the video game Mortal Combat, when you cod have your spine ripped out of your body when you lost. That first goal was it.

    Italy never really got anything going. Shame. That said is there any stopping this Spanish side?

  16. i too felt sorry for the italians. they played more attacking than i thought they would, and it was really frustrating to see a side reduced to 10 men due to injury, not discipline. wish someone could come up with a rule to avoid this, that would also be difficult to exploit.

  17. “Hard to compare eras,”

    You are correct. That is what I think.

    In a one off game, the 1970 Brazil team might be favored because they were just as skilled and more lethal but over the long haul I would take Spain.

    Spain is a direct descendant of the great “Clockwork Orange” Dutch teams of the 70’s ,the difference being they spend much less time stabbing each other in the back and thus can concentrate more on actually winning the game. This teamwork and unselfishness is something the Dutch may never learn and thus they may never win anything.

    Both teams stressed above all else, being good all around soccer players. The Spanish are not just good strikers, or CM’s, DM’s, ACM’s, LB’s, RB’s or CB’s. They are actually real live soccer players who can all shoot pass, tackle, etc. or least do so when it is necessary.

    Everyone is so upset with Del Bosque for playing Fabregas at striker yet who would you rather have doing your attacking for you, Silva, Fabregas and Iniesta or Jozy, Gomez and Dempsey?

  18. What I learned from Euro 2012:

    – Spain still rules.
    – Jordy Alba has, for all intents and purposes, signed with Barcelona. You could have played a great drinking game if you had thrown back a shot every time Ian Darke mentioned this during the game.
    – The media has an obsession with naming “the best.” Every positive mention of Ronaldo had to be accompanied by something about Messi, a player who was not even in the tournament. Now, we have to talk about whether this current Spanish side is the “best ever.” In both cases, who cares? I get the feeling that if some of the journalists and talking heads had been alive in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, their heads would have exploded while wondering whether Faulkner was a better writer than Hemingway. Read it all! Enjoy all players and be glad that you get to see their individual styles. What I would give to see Zidane play another game . . . and we should all feel lucky to be watching Andrea Pirlo right now. Rankings and titles and “who’s the best” arguments are useless, and I get the feeling that a lot of these discussions are intended to fill pages and dead air.

    It was a fantastic tournament.

  19. The better team won. Spain definitely deserved it. It’s a shame the Italians were embarrassed in this game. I thought they were awesome and it was nice to see them break away from their usual ten-men-behind-the-ball tactics. They played with flair and passion.

  20. I worry about that after today, no team will try and go toe to toe with them again.

    Portugal did it a bit more and got away with it largely, but today was a blow for that strategy.

  21. So, is this the best team in history? Very possible. but what about the great Brazil team of 1970? I only have seen highlights and I know they didn’t win three tournaments in a row. So I guess that’s my answer. Hard to compare eras,What do you all think?

  22. what is your “definition” of a great game?

    I truly don’t understand your comment. do you understand what Spain just accomplished? the pressure the world has put on this team to perform every second of every game?

  23. So true. And now we have seen both techniques fail. Two years ago the Dutch bunkered and lost. This time Italy tried to play with Spain and lost. Spain is just very good! But from a fan perspective this game was significantly more enjoyable to watch than two years ago.

  24. When most teams go up against Spain, they bunker, so Spain just maintains possession with a lot of square play looking for openings. When teams try to play against Spain, they are fun to watch.

  25. I think Cesc Fabregas summed it up best when he said, “People who think we are boring, don’t understand the game.”

  26. I don’t know what game you were watching. The game until Italy was forced to go to 10 men was entertaining, fantastic attacking football from both sides. Wonderful passes, great moves by both sides. Of course, if you like kick the ball long and chase it soccer or bunker and pray, I guess you wouldn’t appreciate that game, but then you can just go to your local club youth team and get your jolleys watching your “great” soccer.

  27. Someone needs to define “boring” for me because this Spain team sure doesn’t meet my definition of the word.

  28. This game was a joke, worst game of the tournament and a total disappointment. The only thing that would have made this game interesting is if Guiseppe Rossi played…he would have switched teams halfway through the game. At least that would have made it interesting. Germany-Spain would have been a great game, this was a great team and an average team playing, total waste of my day.

  29. previous games were boring, see versus Portugal, but Spain brought it tonight. nothing boring about the beating they just put on Italy. glad for Torres too.


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