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Euro 2012: Spain thrash Italy 4-0 to retain European crown

Euro 2012: Spain thrash Italy 4-0 to retain European crown
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Spain became the first nation to retain their European title on Sunday night after thrashing a ten man Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012.

David Silva set the tone in Kiev early on while just before half time Jordi Alba doubled the deficit and in the process scored his first goal at international level.

Fernando Torres became the first player to score in two championship finals on 84 minutes while Juan Mata added a late fourth for good measure.

The first was just a matter of time as Spain blasted their way out of the blocks with some delightful trademark quick passing and pacey movement.

Andres Iniesta cut the Italian defence apart with an perfect through ball to Cesc Fabregas who beat Giorgio Chiellini to the bye-line on the right and cut back a perfect cross to allow Silva to head in from close range. It was a lovely piece of football and thoroughly deserved.

Vicente Del Bosque’s decision to start Fabregas immediately paying dividends while Iniesta once again staking a serious claim for player of the tournament.

Other than a couple of Italian half chances from midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo and forward Antonio Cassano Spain dominated the first half at the Olympic stadium as Italy struggled to cope.

Spain’s dominance and quality paid off again in the 41st minute.

Alba played the ball inside to Xavi, and then sprinted up field for the perfectly-weighted return pass.

Cool as a cucumber The Barcelona defender slotted his shot Gigi Buffon for his first international goal.

Italy came out of half-time with a little more purpose up front after Cassano was replaced by Antonio Di Natale.

Di Natale had the perfect chance to reduce the deficit soon after coming on when he found himself on-side and facing Iker Cassillas, but his low drive while slipping to the ground was blocked by the Real Madrid shotstopper.

But Spain’s quick-fire passing and dominance was soon taking centre stage again.

It went from bad to worse for Prandelli and his men when moments after making his third and final sub early in the second half with Riccardo Montolivo off for Thiago Motta – Motta pulled up with a hamstring injury leaving the Azzuri with only ten men to finish the final.

If Italy were on the back foot before, with ten men it became an almost impossible task of stopping Spain for European glory.

Substitute Fernando Torres put the game well and truly beyond the Italians.

Claudio Marchisio gave the ball away cheaply in midfield leaving Xavi to release Torres, who made history by rolling the ball past Buffon on 84 minutes.

Torres turned provider with two minutes remaining with a square ball in front of goal to Juan Mata who hit home the fourth.

Leading up to the final at the Olympic Stadium in Del Bosque’s men had rarely set pulses racing with their style of play.

But it all changed in showpiece match where Spain easily established themselves as the dominant force in European and arguably World football.