Spain’s win in the Ukraine and the role of the Barça players in the victory, received fulsome praise in the international media
Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc win international plaudits
Spain’s historic 4-0 victory over Italy grabbed the sporting headlines all over the world, with many media outlets concentrating on the particular contribution of the Barça players to the national team’s success. The Italian Gazzetta dello sport, admitted: “the technical and athletic superiority of the Iberians”, whilst Il Corriere della sera reckoned “Spain Humiliate Italy” and La Gazetta featured a deflated Balotelli under the headline: “bitter tears”
Xavi and Iniesta “little masters”
On an individual level,Germany’s Der Bild called Xavi: “brilliant” and writing in The Guardian, Richard Williams focussed on Xavi and Iniesta: “names forever linked in the history of the game -little masters whose towering presence was never more apparent than in Sunday's game”, concentrating on their creative brilliance, but also stressing: “they also made sure to share the responsibility for inhibiting their opposite number (Pirlo)”.
In The Independent’s player ratings, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc were all given 9/10: Alba was praised for his “explosive pace”, Xavi gave “a fantastic performance. Not only did he set up Jordi Alba and Fernando Torres for their respective strikes, but the midfielder worked tirelessly throughout to shut down Andrea Pirlo and stop the Italian playing”. Cesc “offered some fantastic touches in and around the Italian eighteen-yard box” and Iniesta: “was irresistible and unplayable at times”.
Finally, the LA Times claimed Spain “overpowered” Italy and quoted Xavi reflecting on the amazing three title run: “the bar was very high, but they are nice challenges. It was more difficult when people didn't believe in us."