Spain Wins Euro 2012 Championship
National football team wins third straight major tournament
Spain has done it again!
Spain won the Euro 2012 football (soccer) tournament last night, defeating Italy 4-0. By winning the tournament, Spain became the first team in history to win back-to-back European Cups. Spain has also won three straight major tournaments — 2008 Euro Cup, 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euro Cup — and they have now solidified themselves as the best team in professional football.
"We were superior to Italy," midfielder Xavi Hernandez said after the Euro win. "We played a complete game and perhaps the best of the entire European Championship. We made history."
Spain began the match quickly, overwhelming the Italians with short, precise passes. Their work eventually paid off 14 minutes in when David Silva headed home a pass from Cesc Fabregas to put Spain up 1-0.
The goal also woke up the Italian team, which began generating more offense. Star forward Mario Balotelli had a golden scoring opportunity, but the ball sailed over Spain’s crossbar.
Despite Italy's attacks, Spain mounted a counter-surge. In one unique play, Xavi Hernandez made a beautiful thread-the-needle pass to teammate Jordi Alba, who sprinted past the Italian defense on his way to a one-on-one chance against goaltender Gianluigi Buffon. Alba beat Buffon with a left-footed shot, and Spain’s lead had increased to 2-0.
Spain was unrelenting, continuing to pound the Italians in the 2nd half. They scored two more goals to put the icing on the cake in what had become another successful tournament.
The Spanish squadron won all of their matches and only allowed two goals in the entire process! They beat France 2-0 in the quarterfinal round, Portugal 4-2 in penalty kicks, and then Italy 4-0 in the Finals. It was the second time in the tournament that Italy and Spain played, the first match saw the two teams finish in a 1-1 draw.
"They've been playing at a very high level for years," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli commented on Spain. "And even though they didn't use any traditional striker, they were able to give weight to their attack."
While the Italians are obviously not feeling happy about their performance versus Spain last night, they can feel good about the way they have grown as a team in the Euro Cup. They have a wide range of young and veteran players, from dangerous striker in Mario Balotelli to veteran Andrea Pirlo.
But right now the rightly deserved attention is on Spain. They played a tremendous game against Italy, continuing their world dominance in soccer.
And the tournament was a great warm-up for Spain as they prepared for the 2014 World Cup, which will be played in Brazil. Spain will head into the huge tournament as the defending champions. They defeated the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup Final.
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