Euro 2012: The final
Spain finally came to life in the Final of Euro 2012 as they brushed Italy aside to lift the trophy.
It was a completely different performance to every other that they had in the tournament. They were actually shooting from outside the box and trying to put the ball into the back of the net any way they could, instead of adding an extra couple of passes to try and create a “perfect goal”.The stats told a different story to the one you could see on the pitch. Possession, shots and corners were very close, but it was the final product that Italy lacked.
They obviously had some very good attempts on goal, they do have some fantastic forwards after all, but Casillas was more than a match for any shot that came his way.
Buffon on the other hand was helpless in the Italian net as the defence in front of him slowly crumbled away throughout the course of the match.
It didn’t help the Italian cause that their third and final pair of fresh legs, Thiago Motta, was stretchered off after just 10 minutes of play, with what looked like a really nasty hamstring injury.
Italy looked like they could hold on for a respectable 2-0 loss with 10 men, but the Spanish substitutes had other ideas.
Torres scored a goal nine minutes after coming off the bench, which also earned him the golden boot, and Mata added Spain’s fourth just one minute into his only appearance at Euro 2012.
I think it was healthy for the Spanish team to have three English-based players score goals in the final (Torres and Mata of Chelsea and Silva of Man City) because all we hear about when anybody speaks of the Spanish team are the players who play for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The stage was set for Balotelli to run riot in the final and single-handedly win Italy the final, especially after his flurry of goals in the semifinal against Germany.
It wouldn’t have been a good thing if he’d have done it though. Imagine what his ego would have been like afterwards! He is undeniably a good player, but he needs to mature, and stay out of the limelight a bit.
Iniesta won player of the tournament, and I don’t think you can argue with that. He was instrumental throughout the competition and had a part to play in almost every goal. He is one of – if not THE – world’s best, but it also helps to have some amazing players alongside you too.
Spain broke another record; three major competition wins on the bounce, can they make it four with the World Cup in two years? I reckon they’ll have a good shout at that and the Olympic gold as well, it’s definitely going to be exciting couple of years to see how the Spanish players progress and gel together to see if they can continue to dominate the world football scene.