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July Mon 02, 2012
Italy-Spain, the final of the 2012 European Championships, ended 0-4. The Spanish team, under the coaching of Vicente Del Bosque, made history as the first team to win three major championships in a row (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010) and as the team to win a championship with the greatest margin. They were also the first team to win two European Championships in a row. For Italy, the fairy tale tournament ended bitterly. The difference on the field was evident, as The Red Fury raged far and wide for the entire ninety minutes of play, showing off their dribbling and an impressive mastery of the field that The Azzurri failed to check except sporadically. After a relatively lackluster tournament, despite their victories, Spain finally looked like the team everyone was expecting and their famous midfield proved worthy of their fame. Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta was named the UEFA Man of the Tournament and Spanish forward Fernando Torres (3 goals), who did not start most of his team’s games, won the Golden Boot, beating out Mario Gomez of Germany. The superiority of the Spanish side was also shown in the fact that 10 of their 11 starters were named to the 23 player Team of the Tournament. Italy’s Buffon, Balotelli, Pirlo and De Rossi were also named to the team.Of course, Italy’s path to the final minutes was fraught with bad luck, as injuries to Chiellini and Thiago Motta forced the Azzurri to play the final half hour outnumbered, and they went into the final with fewer days of rest, but the result was never in question. Possession of the ball went 52% in favor of the Iberian team, which had 14 shots compared with 11 for the Azzurri. Italy, not favorites for the tournament, reached the finals in a spectacular fashion, barely making it out of their group (of which Spain was a part, and the two teams tied 1-1 in the group stage), then beating England in penalty kicks after dominating the entire game, and then outmatching the favorite German side in the 2-1 victory of the semifinals.Spain won their group, beat France 2-0 in the quarterfinals and were unable to score against Portugal, but won the semifinals in penalty kicks. With this win, they are now established as one of the best international teams of all time.Watch the highlights on the next page.
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