Euro 2012: Viva España

By Paul Troupe

KIEV — In a stunning display of football excellence, Spain has been crowned the Euro 2012 Champions. Spain has won not one, not two, but three consecutive major international football tournaments for the first time in football history. Spain has been putting on a show of excellence, and rightly deserved their victory tonight.

Critics labeled them boring. Others said they were too passive. Tonight, however, Spain was attacking. Italy had zero answers offensively or defensively for Spain. The brilliance displayed by Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo, Antonio Cassano, Antonio Di Natale, and Daniele De Rossi against England and Germany were suddenly nowhere to be found.

Early in the match, Italy pushed forward, but for the rest of the game, they appeared content to play defense and let Spain possess the ball. An attacking midfield soon found a gap in the defense when Andrés Iniesta found Cesc Fàbregas who had an easy cross to David Silva for the first goal. In the 41st minute, Xavi found a streaking Jordi Alba to make it 2-0 Spain.

Essentially, the game was already over. Italy played much of the second half with only 10 men after substitute Thiago Motta left the game with a hamstring injury.

With that, Spain had all but wrapped up the game when the next flurry of goals happened.

Fernando Torres, the much maligned striker, scored in the 84th minute for his country. With that goal, he became the first player to score in two Euro finals. Just four minutes later, Torres found Juan Mata to make it 4-0.

Does anyone like numbers? Here are some more interesting statistics for you.

Vincente del Bosque is the first coach to win the World Cup, Champions League, and Euro Cup.

Iker Casillas became the first footballer to record 100 match victories. During this European Championship, he also recorded 509 minutes without conceding a goal. In case you’re wondering, the only goal he did give up was the 61st minute of the first match, also against Italy.

After winning tonight, Spain has now won 29 consecutive European Championship matches without the defeat. Their last loss? A 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2004 group stage.

Talk about dominance. Spain may be one of the greatest teams ever, regardless of sport. It takes something special to be on top for six consecutive years.

Viva España.

Paul Troupe is the lead writer for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and San Antonio Spurs, while covering many major sports for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter @gamin4HIM

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