Euro 2012: Day 19 The Final

Saved The Best For Last: Spain 4 – 0 Italy

Now most finals are a catastrophic disappointment. They’re usually devoid of real excitement or genuine skill and usually feature a bunch of players too overawed for the occasion to actually rise to it. Fortunately this wasn’t one of those occasions. Both Spain and Italy bought their A-game and went at each other from the start.

The first half was simply a delight. Far from being over-complicated and indecisive about their game, Spain’s passing was clinical, incisive and determined. Each pass appeared to be part of a larger attempt to move Italy about the pitch before cynically decapitating them with the odd goal. The first saw them move the ball all over the Italians’ half before Fabregas cut in, went to the byline and crossed for Silva to head in. The second saw Xavi and Jordi Alba combine to set Alba through to beat the keeper. Spain were so dominant that Italy had barely had a chance, yet they never looked like they were outclassed, just overwhelmed.

Italy had no answer. With Spain having in effect a 6 man midfield, Pirlo wasn’t given the freedom to get into the game and so Italy weren’t able to adapt. Ballotelli was isolated and unable to contribute, and despite their changes there was no change in the state of play. Indeed they soon went a player down as their final sub succumbed to a hamstring injury.

Spain’s substitutes, by contrast, worked fine. Torres came on, score a goal, set up another for substitute Mata, and won the golden boot in the process. Not bad for 15 minutes work for a striker who is, apparently, washed up, devoid of confidence and way past his best. Add these to the Champions League winner’s medal he received for just over half an hour on the pitch and it’s not been that bad a season for Fernando. Spain were four up and it could have been 20. Italy were as outdone as Engerland had been a week beforehand, only Spain were able to finish somewhat more effectively.

This was the final the tournament, which started so well, deserved. A truly great match to crown this Spanish side one of the all time greats. It’s probably no consolation to the Italians, but they’ve managed to lose the two classic international finals (this and Mexico 70), conceding 4 goals in each and given us some real entertainment.

Their next match, a friendly against the hapless Engerland, will be very, very interesting.

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