Sunday, 1 July 2012
Euro 2012 Final Live : Italy vs Spain
Hello and welcome to another edition of my live coverage, this time covering the biggest game of the year, the final of Euro 2012. This year sees the team of the moment Spain lock horns with Prandelli's Italian side. Before the game let's see how both of these teams reached the final.
After storming the qualifying stages, Spain set themselves up in a promising position. Despite this, they got one of the hardest groups, having to face Italy, Ireland and Croatia. In the first game, Spain took on Italy, and put out six midfielders, no Torres in sight, the game ended 1-1, and that was the only goal they have conceded so far. In their next game they blew apart Ireland 4-0 and despite a stuggle, beat Croatia 1-0, to send them through top of the group.
In the quarters, a boredom inducing game saw Xabi Alonso net twice on his 100th appearance for Spain. Spain kept the ball well it's true but in an awful game, Spain made it even more boring, as was to follow in the semi final against Portugal. whilst Portugal did well in spells, it was mostly Spain boring the world again, and when penalties followed, Cesc Fabregas putting in the winner. That's all well and good, but when you see that Ronaldo didn't take a penalty then you think the result could have been very different but they are here now, so let's hope they play some good stuff and maybe become the first team to retain the Euros and win 3 international tournaments back to back.
Italy played in the same group as Spain and came out of the group second but that didn't stop them on their march to the final. In the groups Italy first played Spain which ended 1-1, with Italy promising lots by competing on every level with the World champions. In their next group game they tied with Croatia, who were a far greater team than their third place finish would have you believe. In their last game, that little devil Balotelli scored a cracker as they bested Ireland 2-0.
In the quarter finals, Italy took on England and after a boring 120 minutes display, with the little maestro Pirlo having a stunning game, they sent England out, winning penalties 4-2. It was only fair after England's set up of hold on for penalties was unrewarded, thankfully.
In the semi final, Italy took on the favourites Germany and shocked the continent by sending them crashing home courtesy of two Balotelli crackers. The Germans pulled one back through an Ozil penalty but the Italians kept up their triumphant march straight to the final.
Teams are in :
Spain : Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta, Silva, Fabregas.
Italy : Spain: Buffon, Abate, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Balotelli, Cassano.
Men to watch :
5 : Abate
Replacing Maggio, this right back has deadly pace and brilliant skill, will clash with Alba alot.
4 : Alba
Basically the same as Abate but on the left.
3 : Pirlo
Pass master, basically all of Spain's midfield 3 rolled into one beautiful player.
2 : Silva
Playing the advanced role, this Manchester City midfielder will cause some serious Italy problems.
1 - Balotelli
Couldn't be anyone else. This man has pace, shots and passing and will either amaze or devestate.
Teams are out on the pitch, end of the euros, let's hope for a thriller!
1 min : spain kick off the final, and it's off, Cassano wins a throw in off Pique.
2 min : From the thro the ball works its way to Pirlo, who fires wide.
4 min : Silva dances his way through Italy's defence but Marchisio can round up the move anc clears well.
5 min : Balotelli takes a blow to the head from Ramos and the referee waves away complaints, definitely a foul.
6 min : Up Italy's end now and despite a perfectly executed challenge from De Rossi, Spain get a free kick. Ramos blasts over.
7 min : Again Spain going through on goal but Chellini puts the ball out of play with Silva waiting in the wings to bury the cross. The corner is nodded over from Ramos.
9 min : And here comes the tiki taka......... yawn.
10 min : SO CLOSE! One of the better tiki taka pieces of play after some nice interchanging passes Xavi blasts over.
GOAL! ESPANA! SILVAAA! Fabregas bursts down the right and meets Silva's head and leaves Buffon stranded. 1-0 Spain.
15 min : straight up the other end and Balotelli earns a free kick. Pirlo and Super Mario stand over the ball, Balotelli dummies and Pirlo's free kick bounces off the wall.
17 min : Corner for Italy, Ramos deflects it away after Balzargli's header.
18 min ; Another corner that Casillias has to deal with but he does so well.
20 min : Chellini is injures and will be replaces by Palermo's Balzeretti. watch this man as well.
Fact for you now, Spain have won their last 61 matches they have scored first in.
26 min : Beautiful cross from Balzeretti and Casillias has to take it off the head of Balotelli.
28 min : Cassano saw the headlines and after a beautiful De Rossi pass he drives his shot straight at Casillias.
32 min : Cassano again with a shot and Casillias again has to parry.
34 min : Spain just teasing Italy now, they've had it around their penalty area for about a minute.
37 min : super mario plays a neat one two with Montolivo before blasting at goal, high and wide.
GOLA!!!!! ESPANA! ALBA!!! Beautiful from Spain, Alba bursts down the left and is played in fantastically by Xavi and he slots in past Buffon. 2-0!
Spain playing their best football of the tournament, and what a game to have it in the final.
45 min : 1 added minute.
HALF TIME. 2-0 Spain. Definitely deserved, 2 brilliant moves capped off by two sumptous goals. Second half to follow.
45 min : Abate forces a throw in a promising area. And he nearly crafts a goal but Di Natale heads over his cross.
47 min : Abate saving his team this time getting ahead of Iniesta's boot after the ball is loose in the box.
48 min : Bonucci handles the ball but the referee waves away complaints, it wasn't intentional but you've seen them given.
50 min : so much Spain pressure but Buffon catches Silva's cross.
51 min : Di Natale is through on goal after a sublime pass but Casillias saves brilliantly and then gathers the second attempt.
Thiago Motta comes on for Montolivo and I'm sorry I missed it but Di Natale has come on for Cassano, and has earnt Italy a free kick.
57 min : Parried away by a Spanish player before Balotelli misses.
60 min : Ooooo! I am in pain watching the Motta injury, he's having to be stretchered off the poor fella. only played 5 minutes.
61 min : meanwhile Pedro replaces goal scorer David Silva.
63 min : Italy with ten men looking like an impossible job, but wasn't the Italian job impossible?
64 min : Bonucci and Busquets clash in the box and the foul goes Spain's way.
66 min : Balotelli's work rate has been brilliant this game it must be said.
70 min : 20 minutes of time left and you can't see Spain dropping this now unfortunately for you Italy lovers.
Sad to say this game has lost the factor, just becoming the coronation of the Spanish champions.
79 min : Pedro misses the clearest chance in the world but his blushes are spared by the linesman flag.
GOAL! ESPANA! TORRES! The substitute who has only come on recently taps in around Buffon after a fantastic through ball. 3-0, result is a forgone conclusion now.
Finally, his first action of the campaign, Chelsea's Juan Mata replaces the brilliant Iniesta.
GOAL!! ESPANA! MATA!!! Finally! In his first 4 minutes of the tounament Mata scores thanks to Torres. Spain have now won the record for the highest scoring victory in the Euro final.
90 min : 3 minutes until Italy's torture is over.
92 min : Sergio Ramos really trying to anger the Italians now, complacently backheeling at Buffon's goal, thankfully saved.
90+3 min : Spain are once again European champions, thrashing Italy 4-0 en route to their record breaking victory.
Thank you once again for reading, and congratulations to Spain, the multi talented beast of Europe.