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EURO 2012 FINAL: Spain master class ensures Euro 2012 success

Spain regained their European Championship crown with a brilliant performance as they clinically disposed of Italy 4-0 whose cause was not helped by playing the last half-hour with ten men after using up all their substitutes. Excluding penalty shoot-outs Italy had been unbeaten in major tournaments against Spain but in Kiev they had no answer to the swift passing and fluency of their opponents and whilst they did rally after going behind, Spain simply upped the tempo and scored again.

For the first fifteen minutes Italy struggled with the incisive play of the Spaniards who created a couple of chances as the Azzurri defended desperately, but finally went behind when Cesc Fabregas collected Iniesta's pass, crossed and David Silva headed firmly into goal.

Italy did rally and from crosses Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano had half-chances as keeper Iker Casillas looked vulnerable when under pressure, but just as it looked as if they might end the half with just a one goal deficit La Roja went through the gears and a quick break ended with a slide-rule pass from Xavi into the path of left back Jordi Alba who finished with ease just before the break,

Italy had to go all out for an early goal and substitute Antonio Di Natale headed over then had a good chance saved but with those moments went any hope of a fightback.

Italy had used up all their substitutes when Thiago Motta, who had only been on the field four minutes, was carried off injured leaving his team-mates to play out the last 30 minutes with ten men.

Spain then used their one man advantage to cruise the rest of the game, creating and missing chances before substitute Fernando Torres ended Italian resistance with a late strike, then the Chelsea player set up his Blues colleague Juan Mata for number four and a record final score.

The final whistle meant Spain became the first team to successfully defend their European Championship title.

Referee: Pedro Proenca (POR)

Venue: Olimpiyskyi Stadium, Kiev

Attendance: 60,000

Spain scorers: D Silva 14, J Alba 41, Torres 83, Mata 87 Italy scorers:

Yellow cards: Pique (SPA), Barzagli (ITA)

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Dave Williams

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