Spain retain European crown

  • Last Updated: July 2 2012, 7:52 BST

Spain recorded the biggest European Championship final victory of all-time to crush Italy 4-0 in Kiev on Sunday night and become the first team to win three successive major tournaments.

  • Spain celebrate their Euro 2012 triumph
  • David Silva headed home the first goal for Spain 
  • Before Jordi Alba double the defending champions' advantage 
  • Fernando Torres killed off any lingering Italian hopes 
  • And then Juan Mata completed the rout late on 

First-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba put the world champions in full control before late efforts from substitutes Fernando Torres and Juan Mata sealed a resounding triumph.

And they did it with the most awesome display of passing power, which made a mockery of all those who had questioned them beforehand.

It was all too much for Mario Balotelli, who marched straight down the tunnel at the end and angrily shrugged away efforts from Italian officials to get him to stay, before returning for the presentation ceremony.

Italy were not disgraced and would have held out hopes of a comeback until Cesare Prandelli's final replacement Thiago Motta was stretchered off within four minutes of his arrival, leaving his team-mates to battle through the final half hour with 10 men.

  • Spain have won the 2012 European Championships after a stunning 4-0 win over Italy in the final.
  • Flying the flag or rather wearing it... Italian fans have flooded into Kiev's Olympic Stadium as they prepare for Spain vs Italy in the Euro 2012 final.
  • Spanish fans are hoping to see their side make history by picking up a third successive major trophy and will be praying that 'tiki-taka' triumphs tonight
  • Spain have reached the final after topping Group C before going on to defeat Laurent Blanc's France and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the knockout rounds
  • Despite drawing with Spain in their Group C clash, Italy qualified as runners up. Wins over England and Germany booked their place in tonight's final.
  • Euro 2012 mascots Slavek and Slavko pose with the Henry Delauney trophy prior to kick-off. Will it be Casillas or Buffon who lifts the cup after full-time?
  • As the closing ceremony reaches its conclusion the teams make their way onto the pitch for the national anthems.
  • Italy start with a familiar line-up; with Pirlo and Balotelli certain to be the two men that they turn to for inspiration.
  • Spain make one change from their triumph over Portugal, replacing Avaro Negredo with Cesc Fabregas, once again reverting to the 4-6-0 formation.
  • The game is underway, and Italy are making it clear very early on that they don't intend to give Spain much time on the ball.
  • Spain have been far more positive than was expected, as they surge forwards from the off, not afraid to shoot from distance or run at the Italian defence.
  • Spain dominate the early exchanges, looking willing to shoot from range. Fabregas breaks into the box and picks out Silva who heads past Buffon. 1-0 Spain!
  • A truly brilliant goal to really kick start the Euro 2012 final. The Italians look deflated having conceded after just 13 minutes.
  • Italy have responded well, with Balotelli and Cassanno looking particularly dangerous, as Spain narrowly survive a succession of dangerous corners.
  • Italy continue to dominate, but Spain break forward on the counter. A pin point pass from Xavi finds Jordi Alba who beats Buffon one on one and it is 2-0!
  • It will be hard for Italy to swallow afterseemingly settling into the game, but Spain are two up at half-time thanks to a breath-taking move.
  • Disaster strikes early in the half for Italy, as having already made all three substitutions, Thiago Motta is forced to retire with a hamstring injury.
  • With Italy down to ten men and two goals behind Spain begin to take total control. Camped inside the Italian half and in constant posession of the ball.
  • A defence splitting pass finds substitute Fernando Torres clear through on goal. He takes the ball in his stride and slots it home to make it 3-0.
  • The goal makes the Chelsea man the joint top scorer at the tournament, and also equals the record for the largest win at a European Championships final.
  • Torres is involved again as Spain add a fourth. El Nino finds fellow Chelsea man Juan Mata who scores in his first game of the tournament to make it 4-0.
  • Mata's goal sees Spain break the record for the most goals in a European Championships final and puts their win beyond any doubt.
  • The final whistle goes and Spain remain European Champions and have made history by becoming the only side ever to win the competition on three occasions.
  • It is contrasting emotions for Italy however, as they will feel hard done to after plyaing most of the second half with ten men.
  • Casillas lifts the Henry Delauney trophy for a second time and fireworks fly at the Olympic Stadium to mark the end of a memorable European Championships.
Live pictures from the Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

After the game, Spain boss Vicente del Bosque was delighted to see his side make history with another tournament triumph.

"This match was great for our players, they controlled the game," said Del Bosque.

"After the first goal the Italians became more dangerous but we kept the pressure, the depth, we are very happy.

"This success of Spanish football is something historic."

  • Spain
Team Score Team
Spain 4 - 0 Italy
Portugal 0 - 0 Spain
Spain 2 - 0 France
Croatia 0 - 1 Spain
Spain 4 - 0 Rep Irelan
Spain 1 - 1 Italy

The magnitude of their achievement has not been lost on the players, with Barcelona-bound Alba delighted to have played his part in a piece of football history.

"My team-mates made history before and now I am doing so together with them in my first European Championship," said the flying full-back.

"I am struggling to believe it, but it seems to be sinking in little by little.

"I told my friends and family I was going to score tonight and that's the way it turned out."

  • Pictures of the celebrations that followed Spain's emphatic victory over Italy in the Euro 2012 final.
Pictures of the celebrations that followed Spain's emphatic victory over Italy in the Euro 2012 final.

Cesare Prandelli praised his Italy side after they surprised many pundits by making the final, following knockout wins over England and Germany.

"You could tell right away that they were fresher physically," said Prandelli, whose team played in the semi-finals on Thursday, one day after Spain.

"We didn't have time to recuperate, especially against players like these. It became very, very difficult indeed to come back from 2-0 down.

"We came up against a terrific side. They're world champions. Obviously, when you go down to 10 men, the game's over."

  • Italy
Team Score Team
Spain 4 - 0 Italy
Germany 1 - 2 Italy
England 0 - 0 Italy
Italy 2 - 0 Rep Irelan
Italy 1 - 1 Croatia
Spain 1 - 1 Italy

Prandelli told Rai tv: "Anyway, it has been a sensational tournament and I pay my compliments to my players.

"We must grow and arrive at these important competitions with the right space during and after the Italian championship."

Italy's captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon admitted the better side had won.

"Tonight, there was no contest. They were too superior, so the bitterness at losing this final is only relative," he said.