Spain became the first country to win three successive internationals tournaments with a 4-0 win over Italy in the final of Euro 2012.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sealed the biggest ever final margin over surprise finalists Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Sunday, as Spain retained the title they won under Luis Aragones in Austria and Switzerland four years ago.
Together with their 2010 FIFA World Cup triumph in South Africa, Vicente Del Bosque’s side have now earned the right to be considered one of the greatest teams in the history of international competition.
Spain took the lead as early as the 14th minute through Manchester City midfielder Silva, who headed home Cesc Fabregas’ cut-back after some good work down the flank by the Barcelona man.
Italy’s task became harder when they lost key defender Giorgio Chiellini to injury on 21 minutes, to be replaced by Federico Balzaretti.
And the holders doubled their lead four minutes before the break, thanks to an impressive run from deep by Alba.
The Barcelona-bound fullback burst through Italy’s backline and gathered a pass from Xavi Hernandez, before slotting past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Italy introduced Antonio Di Natale in a straight swap for Antonio Cassano at half-time.
And the Udinese striker almost made an instant impact, heading narrowly over the bar less than 60 seconds after the restart with his team’s best chance of the match so far.
He went close again four minutes later, evading the Spain defence to force Iker Casillas into a smart save at close range.
Spain introduced Torres on 75 minutes and the Chelsea striker had only been on the pitch for barely 10 before tucking the ball away in the bottom corner.
And four minutes later his club teammate, Juan Mata added a fourth for the reigning champions.
Mata, who had yet to feature at the tournament, found himself free inside the penalty box to become the first nation to successfully defend their crown.
More to follow…