Sun, July 01, 2012
Sports > Soccer > 2012 European Championship

Spain outclass 10-man Italy in Euro final to break new ground with triple crown

2012-07-01 21:12:37 GMT2012-07-02 05:12:37(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Players of Spain hold the trophy after the final match between Italy and Spain at the Euro 2012 football championships in Kiev, Ukraine, July 1, 2012. Spain won 4-0 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

Players of Spain hold the trophy after the final match between Italy and Spain at the Euro 2012 football championships in Kiev, Ukraine, July 1, 2012. Spain won 4-0 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

KIEV, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Spain stood on top of Europe by beating the 10-man Italy 4-0 in the final on Sunday night.

David Silva's header, Jordi Alba's cool finish, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata's goal relay in the last 10 minutes ensured the reigning world and European champions to become the first team in football history to clinch three major titles in a row.

However, the expected classic final lost its charm and competitiveness with 30 minutes left when the third substitute Thiago Motta played only about four minutes and was injured, forcing Italy to play with one man less.

Italy, who were in the final for the first time in 12 years, again failed to claim a second European crown after their triumph in 1968.

Vicente del Bosque's side broke new ground by becoming the first team to win the back-to-back European championship.

The experienced Bosque also wrote history as the only second coach to win the World Cup and Euro championship.

Exactly three weeks after their 1-1 group draw in Gdansk, Bosque selected the same formation as in that clash, with Fabregas playing a false number nine.

Italy's Cesare Prandelli made a single change from the squad that outclassed Germany in the semifinal, replacing Andrea Balzaretti with Ignazio Abate.

It was an open start for both sides who tried to push forward with ball control in midfield but Spain were more dangerous and deeper in attack.

Spain made a dream start in the 14th minute when Fabregas beat Giorgio Chiellini in a right flank battle and cut into the area to deliver a pull-back cross. David Silva ran in time to head the pinpoint pass to the net.

Italy was forced to use the first substitution just seven minutes later when Chiellini was injured and replaced by Balzaretti.

Spain enlarged the lead four minutes before the break when Xavi Hernandez sent a through pass to help Jordi Alba clear in the left area. The full-back slotted the ball past a diving Gianluigi Buffon to net his first in senior Spain's squad.

Prandelli used Italy's final two substitutions with 30 minutes left, changing Antonio Cassano with Antonio Di Natale and replacing Riccardo Montolivo with Motta.

However, Motta left the field just after several minutes and made his side one man short in the rest of the game.

Spain whipped the helpless opponents in the final 10 minutes when Torres and Mata both came off the bench just several minutes to produce the last two goals of the tournament.

Italy can still leave the stage with their heads held high.

Under Prandelli's two-year guidance, the Azzurri have changed their traditional counter-attack strategy to a more open and free-flowing style, which helped them beat England and Germany in the knock-out rounds.

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