With their emphatic 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final, Spain shattered more records in addition to lifting a third consecutive international trophy.
Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres, and Juan Mata demolished what was ultimately a 10-men Italy side with no answer to Spain’s vintage possession game.
A few shots from distance were blocked away by winning captain Iker Casillas and in the process, the Real Madrid star achieved personal glory in addition to leading the Spaniards to a famous achievement.
Over the course of the entire Euro 2012 tournament, Casillas only let one goal past him, which was scored by Italy’s Antonio Di Natale in the opening group stage match between the two sides.
In the process, the 31-year old became the first goalkeeper to concede only a single goal in a major international tournament.
While Casillas was leading from the back, the front line was covered well despite the fact that coach Vicente Del Bosque yet again chose to start the match without a true striker.
Given that Cesc Fabregas had done well to set up Silva’s opening header and Alba raced away from the Azzurri defense to score a smooth second goal, Spain really did not miss a forward.
Nevertheless, the introduction of Chelsea duo Torres and Mata late in the match added significant firepower against an opponent that was playing a man down.
Torres scored the third goal of the night minutes after entering the match and then assisted Mata for the fourth, thus sealing an unlikely Golden Boot award with three goals and one assist for the tournament.
Furthermore, his goal in last night’s final made him the only player in the history of football to score in two back-to-back European Championship finals.
At the end of the day, the Euro 2012 final in Kiev only confirmed that Spain’s unparalleled dominance has made international football a lot more predictable than it was four years ago.
A match that was billed as the meeting of the last two World champions ended with a massive goal difference, and despite the score line being a little harsh to a resilient Italian team, there is no question that Spain will head to FIFA World Cup 2014 as strong favorites.