Spain has made history and they have redefined possession in all of football. They beat Italy 4-0 their way: quick short passing that Italy could not figure out to save their lives. Italy had some scoring opportunities in the first half, but Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas has some stellar stops.
Italy's defense was ghastly. When Spain scored its second goal before halftime, you sort of felt it was going to be a long day for the Italians. Their head's started to sag after Spain scored their third goal in the 83 minute. Italy could have possibly come back from two scores, but not three. They were done.
ESPN's Ian Darke called it a "showpiece performance" by Spain. It was pretty obvious early that Spain was in no way intimidated by the history they were on the verge of making. Italy didn't adjust when Spain possessed the ball through most of the first half. It was a thrilling match for about 14 minutes, that's how long it took for Spain to make its first goal. After that, the rest of the match was the most uneventful match of Euro 2012. I'm sure it was the most enthralling match for everyone cheering for Spain.
Although I thought Italy would win, I really wasn't that surprised by Spain's dominance- four goal dominance? No. They had won Euro 2008 and the last World Cup; they were no slouches when it came to winning, even dominating, tournament finals. The Spanish team has now etched its deserving place in football history. Are they the best national team ever? According to the panel on ESPN, they are. If they win the World Cup in 2014, then I think they'll be the greatest national team ever. That's a tall order, I know, but if you were a national team, would you want to face Spain in Brazil?
Spain has revolutionized passing with their "tika taka" style. If I was a football coach on any level: high school, college, or professional, like the Premier League or MLS; I would call a meeting and have my entire squad gather round and watch the way Spain played offense against Italy on Sunday. It was textbook, careful passing that resulted in vast gaps that gave Spain scoring opportunities.
Coach Vicente del Bosque deserves so much credit for Spain's brilliant game plan. Bosque and his team have showed a stealthy poise throughout the entire European Championship. And their "tika taka" passing game has dazzled football fans all over the world.
When Italy was getting their runner-up medals draped around their slumped necks, they had to go by The Henri Delaunay Cup. That had to be a devastating blow, being close enough to even touch it. Some of them sneaked a peek at it out of the corner of their eye as they passed. It must have felt like a icy dagger piercing their chests.
Cities & Stadiums
The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|