Spain have won Euro 2012 after crushing Italy 4-0, becoming the first nation to win three straight major tournaments. This team is arguably the greatest international side of all-time, and certainly the most accomplished. In 10-straight knockout matches through all three tournaments, Spain did not allow a goal.
This was a weird match. Spain raised their tempo, which worked to their advantage against an older, not quite fit Italy team playing for the third time in eight days. Despite holding more possession in the first half, Italy was very lethargic on transitions, which cost them on the Alba goal. Injuries did them in, especially Thiago Motta’s which dropped them down to 10 men.
Spain were ruthless and dominating. Were they boring? In this match, no, but boatracing a dead-legged Italy team that had fallen to 10 men hardly absolves them for the Portugal and Spain matches. It wasn’t so much that they weren’t expansive for most of the tournament. It’s that they had the talent to do so and opted against it. The end justified the means, however unromantic.
Considering the amount of miles these players put on their legs, at club and international level the past four seasons. Their success, both the peak and the consistency, has been amazing.
Fernando Torres is now a European champion at club and international level and won the golden boot. Dream season.
[Photo via Getty, Screen Grabs via Shamburger]