EURO 2012 — July 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Spain Reigns In the Ukraine at EURO 2012


Spain becomes the first country to win three consecutive major tournaments                                                      Zaven Aharonian / La Cancha

They won it in magical fashion as they outclassed Italy in largely anticipated tight encounter concluding from their opening match on a group stage that ended in a draw..

Vicente del Bosque’s team staged a solid claim to be the greatest international side of all time being compared with Brazil of 1970 and Germany of 1972 and 1974 – the only team that would win two consecutive titles. Italy performed creditably for long periods but was outplayed by neet passing and cutting edge exuberance, invincible passing and unmatched creativity and domination both in attack and in defense, founded on excellent physical form despite lengthy season and difficult tournament.

David Silva’s header was reward for Spain’s early supremacy and new Barcelona recruit Jordi Alba doubled the lead just before half-time with a blistering run and finish.

The scoreline looks emphatic at the conclusion but Italy performed with great resolve. The only team that nearly matched Spain on ball possession 49% against Spain’s 51%. One of a kind that maintained their composure and trying to get back into the game. But as soon as Italy were reduced to 10 men after losing third substitute Thiago Motta to injury, they were outplayed with the opposing side using all the tactical and technical might at their arsenal.

Fernando Torres emerged as a late substitute to make a powerful impact; steering home Spain’s third goal then unselfishly setting up Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata, to get into spotlight in his limited time on the field and put the result beyond the doubt.

Spain’s virtuoso performance was as impressive as Saint Petersburg symphonic orchestra performing Tchaikovsky Piano concerto flawless and powerful with suitable ending. It was a decisive answer to a growing number of critics (perhaps justified to some degree after colourless win against France and hard fought victory against Portugal in a penalty shoot out) who had forced coach Del Bosque and his players to defend themselves against allegations that they had been “boring” throughout Euro 2012 at the pre-match media conference. Cesc Fabregas, who scored decisive penalty against Portugal and made pinpoint cross for david Silva’s opening header responded – “those who call us boring do not understand the game”.

Even Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, in an ill-timed contribution, wrote that Spain “have betrayed their philosophy and turned it into something more negative”.

Not on this night.

Every quality that has led to them dominating world football since they won Euro 2008 and the World Cup in South Africa two years later was employed.

It was a heartbreaking night for Italy and coach Cesare Prandelli but there was no shame in being beaten by a team of such quality. They can reflect with satisfaction on their work before this chastening evening. This was the most impressive Italy who converted defense leaning, modern cattenachio style football into well balanced and organized with excellent technique strong spirit and star players such as one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament Gianluigi Buffon, midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo and gradually maturing infant terrible Mario Balotelli as center forward.

Spain, perhaps stung by the words of criticism aimed in their direction, started with a pace and tempo of passing that the Italians found impossible to live with.

The warning signs were posted for Italy when a long spell of possession ended with Xavi shooting just over – but it was not long before they were ahead.

Cesc Fabregas was employed in the so-called “False Nine” role as Del Bosque played without a conventional striker – a luxury that only Spain can afford. This is probably the most recent and most notable tactical novelty in modern football that I am sure will find some followers. The former Arsenal star, known more as attacking midfielder, turn makeshift striker with his fellow fulltime bombardier ”Real Nine” Fernando Torres as very effective substitute, proved the tactic is a positive force rather than a negative one.

He collected the masterly Andres Iniesta’s pass and outflanked Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini before delivering perfectly for Silva to head beyond keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

It was Chiellini’s final contribution as he swiftly succumbed to the thigh injury that has been troubling him in the later stages of the tournament and was replaced by Federico Balzaretti.

Italy’s response to Silva’s goal and the early Spanish onslaught was commendable as Antonio Cassano twice had shots saved by keeper Iker Casillas but a goal of brilliance in creation and execution made their task mountainous.

Alba demonstrated exactly why Barcelona were so keen to bring the graduate of their famous La Masia youth academy back to the Nou Camp from Valencia when he finished a blurring run on to Xavi’s perfect pass with a composed finish past Buffon.

Prandelli acted during the interval, sending on Antonio Di Natale for Cassano. Twice he almost got the goal that could have halted Spain, heading just over before bringing a fine save out of Casillas. The game still looked far from over.

Italy’s third and final change came when Motta replaced Riccardo Montolivo but Italy’s luck was summed up when he suffered a hamstring injury within minutes and the Azzurri were reduced to 10 men.

Spain were now winning with something to spare and Del Bosque took the opportunity to remove the outstanding Fabregas and introduce Chelsea striker Torres for the closing stages.

It was an opportunity he took, adding the final flourishes by steering home Spain’s third and unselfishly setting up Mata’s finish to round off a spectacular performance.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)


  • 01 Casillas
  • 03 Pique Booked
  • 15 Ramos
  • 17 Arbeloa
  • 18 Alba
  • 06 Iniesta (Mata – 87′ )
  • 08 Xavi
  • 10 Fabregas (Torres – 75′ )
  • 14 Alonso
  • 16 Busquets
  • 21 Silva (Pedrito – 59′ )


  • 12 Valdes
  • 23 Reina
  • 02 Albiol
  • 04 Martinez
  • 05 Juanfran
  • 20 Cazorla
  • 22 Navas
  • 07 Pedrito
  • 09 Torres
  • 11 Negredo
  • 13 Mata
  • 19 Llorente


  • 01 Buffon
  • 03 Chiellini (Balzaretti – 21′ )
  • 07 Abate
  • 15 Barzagli Booked
  • 19 Bonucci
  • 08 Marchisio
  • 16 De Rossi
  • 18 Montolivo (Motta – 56′ )
  • 21 Pirlo
  • 09 Balotelli
  • 10 Cassano (Di Natale – 46′ )


  • 12 Sirigu
  • 14 De Sanctis
  • 02 Maggio
  • 04 Ogbonna
  • 06 Balzaretti
  • 05 Motta
  • 13 Giaccherini
  • 22 Diamanti
  • 23 Nocerino
  • 11 Di Natale
  • 17 Borini
  • 20 Giovinco

Ref: Proenca

Att: 60,000








Leave a Reply

— required *

— required *