Breaking News: Spain have emerged Euro 2012 champions after thrashing Italy 4-0 in the final on Sunday, July 1, 2012.
Spain got their deserved reward for their self-belief in their unconventional methods and in the end were the better team by a country mile. Vicente del Bosque showed there was method to his madness when his unorthodox formation stood the test on a night when Spain ran riot against a hapless Italy back-line.
In a brilliantly entertaining performance, Spain confuted their critics and the final whistle came as a relief to the Italians who were reduced to tears during the trophy presentation.
If there is a single statistic that underlines Spain’s ascendancy in football, it is this: since 2006, La Roja haven’t conceded a goal in a knock-out game. That translates into 10 games and over 16 hours spent on the ground.
Within the first 15 minutes David Villa’s header put Spain ahead and Jordi Alba made it 2-0 four minutes before the break, when he latched on to a Hernandez pass and ran clear. Italy’s woes were compounded when their third substitute, Thiago Motta, was laid low by a hamstring injury. Ten men were never going to accomplish what 11 had failed to do and Torres and Juan Mata, coming in as a late substitute, completed the rout.
Iniesta and Xavi were absolutely brilliant to say nothing about the combination of Silva, Alonso and Fabregas, who confounded the skeptics that refuse to give the team with no recognized striker the credit it deserves. Spain’s pass-and-play style, built around dominant possession of the ball is too refined for conventional thinkers on the game to comprehend.
It became evident with the first goal, when Fabregas quickly latched on to the ball and drove Iniesta’s pass — past Chiellini — into the penalty area and the pace and awkward height of the ball could not prevent David Silva from delivering a twisted header into the top of the net.
Italy had a couple of scoring chances soon after the interval but Antonio Di Natale, coming on for Antonio Cassano, failed to make them count. The Azzurri were also fortunate when the referee failed to notice Leonardo Bonucci blocking a Sergio Ramos header with his arm.
Xavi created the opportunity for the third goal when he latched on — after De Rossi misplaced a pass — and played Torres through, on 84 minutes. Four minutes later, Torres ran clear and a square pass by the Chelsea star facilitated Mata’s icing on the Spanish cake.
————————————————————————————————-Following is the team profile we published in May 2012:
Spain are the defending Euro and FIFA world cup champions and definitely bookies’ favorites to win the Euro crown again. La Roja are a bunch of highly talented players, who play free-flowing football. Del Bosque, under whom Spain achieved their first ever world cup victory, has brought style and substance into the Spanish team. His recent contract extension would only serve to boost the morale of the team. Other managers would have guaranteed to have nightmares the night before their teams face Spain.
Route to qualification
In the qualifiers, Spain were handed relatively easier opponents in Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania and Leichtenstein. The Spaniards started their campaign in style by trashing minnows Leichtenstein 4-0 at Vaduz on 3rd September, 2010. A comfortable 3-1 victory against Lithuania at the Estadio El Helmántico in Salamanca and a scrappy 3-2 win against Scotland in Glasgow ensured that Del Bosque’s men were on top of the group by October 2010. After a 5-month break, La Roja were up against the Czech Republic, their toughest opponents in the group. A David Villa double secured them full points from the game. Their opponents in the next game, Leichtenstein, proved no match as the Spaniards slotted six goals past them and conceded none. A 2-0 away victory against the Czech Republic followed by a 3-1 home victory against Scotland in October 2011 ensured that Spain finished on top of their group, having won all eight of their qualifiers while scoring 26 goals and conceding just six in that process.
Spain beat the then defending champions USSR 2-1 to win the 1964 European Nations’ Cup. They reached the title-clash in the 1984 Euro but stumbled at the final hurdle, losing 0-2 to France. The 1-0 win against Germany in the Euro 2008 final is one of the glorious chapters of Spanish footballing history.
Spain are placed in Group C along with Ireland, Croatia and former world champions Italy. They begin their title defence against the Azzuri on June 10, 2012 at the PGE Arena, Gdańsk. The Irish would be no push-overs and are likely to mount a tough challenge against the Spaniards on June 14, 2012. Spain conclude their group encounters against Croatia on the 18th of June at the same venue.
Centre-back Carlos Puyol is ruled out of the Euro with a knee injury while David Villa is yet to recover from the leg injury he suffered in December. The final squad would be announced on the 27th of May.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, David De Gea, Pepe Reina
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Dominguez, Ignacio Monreal Juanfran
Midfielders: Isco, Xabi Alonso, Santi Cazorla, Benat, Javier Garcia, Bruno Soriano, Juan Mata
Forwards: Adrian Lopez, David Silva, Roberto Soldado, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Torres
The captain, Iker Casillas is the best goal-keeper in the business and holds the national record for the highest number of clean sheets kept. David Silva’s pace and guile made him indispensible at Man City and he is a huge threat to rival back-lines.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.