Euro 2012: Spain 4-0 Italy - Match Report

Spain claimed their third successive major international title after winning Euro 2012 with a typically dominant performance over Italy in Kiev.

Spain claimed their third successive major international title after winning Euro 2012 with a typically dominant performance over Italy in Kiev. David Silva scored the first goal after only 14 minutes before Jordi Alba got forward from left-back to slot home the second in the first half. Italy went down to 10 men in the second period when they lost Thiago Motta to injury and Spain took full control. First Fernando Torres and then Juan Mata scored goals to finish the match. The Spanish started with their usual system of six midfielders, including the ever-consistent Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso. Italian manager Cesare Prandelli opted to start Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano in the hope that they could conjure up a similar performance to the one they gave against Germany. Spain had the best of the opening exchanges, that mainly arrived via the feet of the outstanding Xavi. After 10 minutes the Barcelona play-maker nearly made the most of a quick one-two with Fabregas when he fizzed a long range shot inches over Gianluigi Buffon's crossbar. Then La Roja finally managed to break the Azzurri's defence. A cutting through ball from Xavi found Fabregas inside the penalty area, he took the ball around Giorgio Chiellini and crossed it back for David Silva to head home. Cassano showed moments of brilliance in the first half, with usual maestro Andrea Pirlo isolated by the circus of Spanish midfielders. After half an hour the AC Milan striker turned on the edge of the box and struck a fierce shot that Iker Casillas had to push away. Despite the growing pressure from Italy, their opponents showed their integrity with a sublime second goal. Alba slipped the ball to Xavi in his own half then burst forward, beating four defenders, to get the ball back in front of goal and score past Buffon. Prandelli could only watch from the sideline as his team were dominated from back to front. Balotelli was stranded in the final third and the defence was so overwhelmed that the usual wing play from Christian Maggio and Daniele De Rossi wasn't consistent. Italy did have some chances though and Casillas had to deal with several corners before once again palming away a powerful drive from Riccardo Montolivo. At half time the Spanish led easily, and despite getting to the final on the back of a spirited performance in the Semi, Italy looked lost for ideas. Antonio Di Natale replaced Cassano in the break and twice he had golden chances to halt the Spanish onslaught but Casillas was on hand once again, demonstrating the composure and talent that makes him one of the all-time goalkeeping greats. Italy also exchanged Montolivo for Motta later on but minutes later he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury the uphill task became mountainous for the remaining 10 men. Vicente Del Bosque decided that Torres deserved a final run-out in this tournament so swapped him in for the courageous Fabregas. Juan Mata was also given his first and last few minutes at Euro 2012 when he replaced Iniesta. Torres swiftly tucked away a third before unselfishly squaring the ball for Mata to sweep home in the dying moments.

MATCH SQUADS

SPAIN: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva (Pedro 59), Fabregas (Torres 75), Iniesta (Mata 86) ITALY: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini (Balzaretti 21); Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi; Montolivo (Thiago Motta 56); Balotelli, Cassano (Di Natale 46)

MATCH STATS

Possession: Spain (52) Italy (48) On Target: Spain (9) Italy (6) Fouls: Spain (17) Italy (10) Goals: Spain (Silva 14, Alba 40, Torres 84, Mata 88) Booked: Spain (Pique) Italy (Barzagli)
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Football Writer. Stratford AFC Goalkeeper. Writing articles, interviews, analysis, reviews and anything else that comes up.