La selección española, campeona de la Eurocopa 2012 / FOTO: RFEF.ES

Brilliant display of controlled possession sweeps aside Italian team, with goals from Silva, Jordi Alba, Torres and Mata, two assists from Xavi and another from Fabregas.

Early strike sets the stage

 Vicente del Bosque once again went for a team without a recognised striker, playing Cesc, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta alongside Xabi Alonso and Silva in midfield as he aimed to out pass the Italians. On 10  minutes, Xavi hit a shot just over and a few minutes later, Iniesta played a lovely through ball for Cesc, who cut back for David Silva to head home and open the scoring. Italy tried to fight back, but their playmaker Pirlo was being kept under control by a combination of Xavi and Cesc, whilst Piqué and Ramos snuffed out any threat from Balotelli. Just before the break a lovely pass from Xavi released Jordi Alba, who’d run almost half the length of the pitch to slot home for the second goal. Two up after 45 minutes, Spain had put in a thrilling first half of controlled football that has rarely been seen in the history of the game.

Italian threat fizzles out

Italy’s slim hopes of coming back were dealt a cruel blow, when their third sub, ex-Barça man Thiago Motta was forced off after just a few minutes with a hamstring injury, leaving his team with just 10 men for the last half hour. Del Bosque brought on Pedro for Silva before giving the tireless Cesc a break by bringing on Torres and the Chelsea man got Spain’s third, after yet another inch perfect pass from Xavi -and his own third of the tournament before setting up Mata – who’d come on for the sublime Iniesta – for the fourth.

Epoch making performance

This was a superlative Spanish show, based on a man of the match performance from Xavi, superb skills from Iniesta and Cesc, solid defending from Piqué and a typically robust performance by Busquets in the middle, together with a superb final from Jordi Alba, as the group of Barça players combined with Casillas, Ramos, Arbeola, Xabi Alonso, Silva and Torres for an epoch making exhibition of controlled football, having won the last here tournaments they’ve been involved in and becoming the first team to ever retain the European Championship.