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Posts tagged ‘spain’

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Final: FT Spain 4 – 0 Italy

Final: FT Spain 4 – 0 Italy

Still no striker for Spain, they simply don’t care what you think, and as reigning world and European champions, you can hardly blame them: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta. Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Italy replace Federico Balzaretti with Ignazio Abate: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano.
Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Balzaretti, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

14 min: GOAL!!! AND THIS HAD BEEN COMING!!! Spain 1-0 Italy. Absolute brilliance by Fabregas, who after a period of tasty tiki-taka chases after a pass rolled down the inside-right channel. He reaches the byline under pressure from Chiellini, and whips a high ball back into the centre, where Silva, level with the right-hand post, pings an instant header into the top-left corner. What an outstanding finish, and it’s no more than Spain deserve for their high-octane start.

41 min: OUT OF NOTHING, ANOTHER SUPERB GOAL!!! Spain 2-0 Italy. Italy were on the attack, but Spain crowd them out of the ball. They stroke it around the back awhile – then launch what’s almost a route-one style goal for Spain. Well, a route three or four goal, anyway. Casillas launches it down the left. A header. A pass inside. Then Xavi rolls a perfectly weighted pass down the inside-left for Jordi Alba, who has been bombing down the channel and springs clear, slotting a calm, considered finish past Buffon and into the bottom left. A flick of the left boot into the corner.

84 min: IF IT’S A EURO FINAL, THEN THERE MUST BE A TORRES GOAL!!! Spain 3-0 Italy. A delightful finish. Italy fanny around in midfield. Xavi pounces, drives forward, and slides a ball down the inside-left channel for Torres. The Chelsea striker opens up his body and sidefoots a ball past Buffon and into the bottom right. This equals the biggest win in a Euro final – West Germany’s 3-0 win over USSR – while Torres becomes the first player to score in two of these finals.

88 min: THERE GOES WEST GERMANY’S RECORD!!! Spain 4-0 Italy. Torres hares after another Xavi sliderule pass down the inside left. He draws Buffon, before sliding the ball inside to his Chelsea teammate Mata, who clips home. Forget the fact Italy have been down to ten men, Spain were rampant anyway. This has been a majestic display.

SPAIN ARE THE FIRST EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS TO RETAIN THEIR TROPHY, AND THE FIRST TEAM IN HISTORY TO WIN THREE MAJOR INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS IN A ROW!!! Spain 4-0 Italy. That was as comprehensive as it gets. Signature performance? Well, they’ve got one now. Italy were unfortunate to go down to ten men, but the game was over by then anyway. Spain were rampant, and are celebrating in the manner they deserve.

Incidentally, here’s a delicious bonus for Spain, who have copped so much flak for rarely fielding a striker: Fernando Torres has won the golden boot. He’s one of several lads on three goals, but as he’s rarely featured, he cops the prize as a result of having played the fewest minutes.

Italy – with several players in tears – go up for their runners-up medals. Mario Balotelli had stormed off down the tunnel at the final whistle, but he’s calmed down and is back with the rest of the squad. Gianluigi Buffon, head held high and smiling, leads his men up. Giorgio Chiellini, whose final was over almost before it had begun, is in floods, poor chap. Fifa president Michel Platini hangs the silver medals round their necks. It’ll feel bitter now, but runners up seemed like a pipe dream for Italy at the beginning of the tournament. They’ve been magnificent.

But they had no answer for this Spanish side, who kept their powder dry for almost the entire tournament, before exploding in spectacularly entertaining style tonight. They trudge up the stairs – winning three trophies in a row takes a fair bit of effort, you know – and receive their gold medals. They crowd round the podium, start jumping up and down with the anticipation of little children on Christmas morning, and eventually Iker Casillas lifts the Henri Delaunay Troophy. SPAIN ARE THE 2012 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS.

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Semifinal : AET Spain* 0 – 0 Portugal

Semifinal : AET Spain* 0 – 0 Portugal

Teams:
Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Silva, Negredo

Portugal: Patrício; Pereira, Alves, Pepe, Coentrão; Veloso, Moutinho, Meireles; Nani, Ronaldo, Almeida

Spain were the better side in extra-time, when Portugal clung on. Pedro and Navas made a big difference, bringing width, speed and directness. But it was too late and so we have a shootout.

PENALTY KICK!!

Alonso hammers a low shot to the keeper’s left but Patricios saves superbly! Spain 0-0 Portugal.

Moutinho takes an odd baby-steps run-up and then taps it to the keeper’s right … and Casillas emulates his counterpart! Spain 0-0 Portugal.

Iniesta rolls it down the middle as Patricio dives to the corner, confounding another prediction. Spain 1-0 Portugal.

Pepe takes a run-up as if he’s preparing for a long jump and then places a lovely low kick past Casillas’s dive and into the bottom corner. Spain 1-1 Portugal.

Piqué tonks it into the bottom corner. Spain 2-1 Portugal.

Nani. Alves started to walk towards the ball but Nani ordered him back … and then smacked a textbook penalty into the top corner. Spain 2-2 Portugal.

Ramos does the Panenka! Patricio buys it. Spain 3-2 Portugal.

Alves, his turn apparently having come, crashes a powerful shot against the bar. Spain 3-2 Portugal.

Fabregas sends it past Patricio and in off the post! Spain 4-2 Portugal. Spain are through to the final. And Ronaldo didn’t even get to take a kick.

 

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FT France 0 – 2 Spain

FT France 0 – 2 Spain

At 19′, Iniesta lifts a lovely short pass down the left to set Jordi Alba free. Debuchy slips, allowing the Spaniard to scuttle into the area. He pulls a cross back to Xabi Alonso, ten yards out, level with the far post after cutting in from the right. Alonso – on his 100th appearance – heads the cleverest of finishes down and back across Lloris, into the left-hand side of the net. Magnificent. 1-0 for Spain.

At 90′, Pedro twists, turns, and executes a couple of stepovers down the inside left and into the French area. Reveillere balloons into view and knocks him to the ground. Spot kick! PENALTY TO SPAIN!

Spain 2-0 France. Alonso pelts the penalty into the left-hand side of the net, Lloris going the other way.

The reigning world and European champions Spain go through to the semi final, where they will meet their Iberian rivals Portugal. Spain are clearly the best team in the world, almost impossible to beat; that’s hardly news, and nobody’s arguing otherwise. But crowds and audiences are under no obligation to enjoy the spectacle.

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FT Croatia 0 – 1 Spain

FT Croatia 0 – 1 Spain

Spain are unchanged after reluctantly accepting that playing a striker increases your chances of scoring goals, even when that striker is Fernando Torres. Croatia have left out a striker: Everton’s Nikica Jelavic is replaced by who-cares-who-he-plays-for-he’s-not-English-based’s Domagoj Vida in a reshuffled side, with Slaven Bilic presumably wanting to keep the 4-2-3-1 that worked so well in the second half against Italy. Danijel Pranjic also comes in for Ivan Perisic on the left of the attacking midfield triumvirate.

At 88′, Fabregas, under no pressure from a tired back four, played a delicious scooped pass to put Iniesta through on goal. He eschewed the pass, of course, instead laying it square past Pletikosa for Navas to walk it to within six inches of goal before hammering it gleefully into the net. The Art Project has its justification; they have actually walked the ball in. I thought Navas was offside after Iniesta’s touch, but replays show he was level. Iniesta’s two touches were masterful: he stretched to control the ball with his left breast and then, before Pletikosa had set himself for the shot never mind anything else, stabbed it gently past him for Navas to score. 1-0 for Spain.

Croatia are out of Euro 2012, while Spain go through as group winners. They did it their way, wearing Croatia’s defence out with tiki taka before applying a killer blow at the death. It was uncomfortably close, though, and Croatia had a couple of significant opportunities: Rakitic missed a great chance and they should have had a penalty with four minutes to go and the score 0-0.

Croatia’s gameplan was immaculate, given the quality of their opponent, but you need more than just an immaculate gameplan to beat this remarkable Spanish team. You can argue all night that their approach is reducing the effectiveness of a great team, yet it will still take something close to a perfect storm for anybody, even Germany, to beat them. They will play the runners-up in Group D.

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FT Spain 4 – 0 Republic of Ireland

FT Spain 4 – 0 Republic of Ireland

After typically tidy interplay from the Spanish, Richard Dunne slid in to tackle Silva but the ball broke to Torres at the edge of the area. He effortlessly ghosted past Ward and cracked a decent shot past Given, who should have stopped it. 1-0.

At 49′, Given blocked an Ineista shot but only batted it out as far as Silva, who collected it eight yards out, feinted past St Ledger and then sidefooted it through two pairs of Irish legs and into the bottom corner. 2-0.

At 70′, McGeady lost possession in the middle, the ball was slipped through to Torres, who got away from Ward easily and then, despite pressure from Dunne, slotted it past Given and into the net from 18 yards. 3-0 for Spain.

Bang! At 83′, Fabregas fires the ball in off the post after Ireland fall asleep from a short corner. 4-0.

 

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Instant Reply by Fabregas

Goal from Barcelona’s man Cesc Fabregas. 1-1 Game On!

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Goal!! Di Natale!!

Superb pass by Andrea Pirlo! Class finishing by Di Natale. 1-0 for ITALY!