Spain thrash unfortunate Italy in Euro 2012 finalJuly 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Posted in General Football | Leave a comment
Something strange happened to me during Euro 2012. I became a fan of Italy’s football team. For years I disdained their defensive approach and penchant for unattractive 1-0 wins. They used to defend, defend, defend and leave it to little Gianfranco Zola or another like him to score a goal on the counter attack.
Italy 2012 was different. In their first group match against Spain, a 1-1 draw, they proved themselves to be a lively and adventurous side that played attacking football. That game was a masterpiece of football technique by both teams. To my amazement, boring Italy was actually interesting to watch for their swashbuckling style of play. Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano provided plenty of interest up front, while Andrea Pirlo gave a masterclass of creative central midfield play. Gianluigi Buffon, one of the finest keepers of a generation of footballers, backed it all up with his confidence and style. Their tournament height came in the 2-1 semi-final victory over favourites Germany thanks to two markers by Balotelli. It was a proud moment indeed for Italy, and well deserved.
Unfortunately the Spain of the final were much better than the Spain of the first group match, and the incredible football machine that it has become simply rolled over poor Italy, winning 4-0 in the final. While Italy played with 10 men for the last third of the match due to and injury to their last sub Thiago Motta, I can’t say the result would have been different even if the score might have been.
It is a fact that Spain is playing football on a different level than all other footballing nations in Europe, and possibly in the world. Their technique is absolutely marvellous. They can pass and control the ball at enormous speed, score when they decide to, and can defend magnificently as a team. With two consecutive Euro titles under their belt and a World Cup in between to boot, I am beginning to wonder who can stop them in Brazil 2014.
Can Spain keep their golden era going by becoming the first European team to win a World Cup on South American soil in 2014? You bet they can.