Monday 02 July 2012
David Silva, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata all got on the scoresheet as Spain made history by winning UEFA Euro 2012 with a dominant victory over Italy in Kiev.
Manchester City midfielder Silva set them on their way as Spain became the first side to win three consecutive major international tournaments.
The current World Cup holders retained their European Championship crown with a typically breathtaking display of passing football.
"To win three titles is almost impossible"
- Vicente del Bosque
Vincente del Bosque's side had been accused of being boring after failing to hit top form in previous knockout wins over France and Portugal.
But they saved their best for the final and could have taken the lead in the opening few minutes as Sergio Ramos headed a Xavi corner over the bar before Xavi hit a dipping shot narrowly over from 18 yards.
But the opening goal arrived within a quarter of an hour as Andres Iniesta brilliantly picked out Cesc Fabregas and the former Arsenal skipper pulled the ball back for Silva to expertly head in.
Spain continued to dominate possession and got a second goal when Jordi Alba burst forward and played a terrific one-two with Xavi, the left-back racing clear to slot past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Italy had their best spell just after half-time as Antonio di Natale headed over the bar in the opening minute of the second half with his first touch after coming off the bench.
Di Natale then had a shot saved well by Iker Casillas, but Italy's players tired and their hopes looked to have ended when substitute Thiago Motta was forced off with a hamstring injury.
"They were too superior and so the regrets about losing are possibly less hard"
- Gianluigi Buffon
Italy had already used their three substitutes and so were forced to play the last half an hour with only 10 men.
The result looked in little doubt but Torres made sure when he collected a Xavi pass and slotted past Gianluigi Buffon into the bottom corner to become the first player to score in two European Championship finals.
Torres then set up Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata to score in the closing stages as a rampant Spain side defended their title in style.