Spain won a impressive 4-0 victory over Italy to become the first side to successfully defend a European Championship title. It was Spain's third consecutive major tournament triumph, causing some to declare it the best national side ever.
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Spanish captain Iker Casillas hoists the European Championship trophy after Sunday's 4-0 win over Italy. AFP
Here is a short video showing all the goals, but first read the story and try to imagine them: http://bit.ly/OWzfKc
Spain crush Italy to win historic Euro 2012 crown
By Tom Williams (AFP)
KIEV, Ukraine — Spain confirmed their status as one of the greatest national teams in football history by overwhelming Italy 4-0 in Sunday's Euro 2012 final to retain their European crown.
Vicente del Bosque's team became the first side to successfully defend a European Championship title, as well as the first to win three consecutive major tournaments after their triumphs at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
Spanish midfielder David Silva, in red, heads the ball for the opening goal of Sunday's Euro 2012 final against Italy. AFP
Accused in some quarters of having lost their ability to excite, Spain produced a thrilling demonstration of attacking football to confirm beyond doubt that this remains a golden age for Spanish football.
Andres Iniesta and Xavi were the architects of victory at the Olympic Stadium, playing key roles in goals by David Silva, Jordi Alba and Fernando Torres, who teed up fellow substitute Juan Mata for Spain's fourth.
Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta controls the ball. AFP
"After we scored the first goal, Italy were dangerous, but we reacted well," said Spain coach Del Bosque.
"We had possession of the ball, we put pressure on them, and there was depth to our play. So we're very happy.
"This success in Spanish football is something historic, and now we have to look to the future and try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil."
Spanish forward Fernando Torres celebrates after scoring his team's third goal late in the match. Torres also set up the final goal. AFP
The match-winner in the Euro 2008 decider against Germany, Torres became the first player to score in two European Championship finals, while it was the most handsome winning margin in a final in the tournament's history.
"We have to savour this victory," said Iniesta, who was voted the official man of the match.
"It's unique, it's magical; something that can't be repeated. I think we still haven't absorbed how great this is."
Italy played the last half an hour with 10 men after third substitute Thiago Motta was forced off by injury moments after coming on, as the momentum that had taken the Italy past Germany and England in the knockout rounds disappeared.
"We came up against a terrific side," admitted Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.
Spanish defender Alvaro Arbeloa (L) vies with Italian forward Antonio Cassano. AFP
"They're world champions. Obviously, when you go down to 10 men, the game's over."
The star of the semi-final win over the Germans, Mario Balotelli endured a fruitless evening, while Andrea Pirlo was upstaged by the pass masters in the Spanish midfield.
"Against Spain, you accept losing more easily," said Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon. "It was a great adventure. In a final, you have to win but today we played against a team of incredible quality."
Dropped for the semi-final against Portugal, Cesc Fabregas returned to Spain's starting line-up to occupy the 'false nine' role he had taken up against Italy in the 1-1 draw between the sides in Group C on June 10.
Spanish defender Jordi Alba celebrates after scoring a goal. AFP
It was quickly apparent that Spain had a point to prove and in the 10th minute there was a glimpse of the pin-sharp attacking football that had eluded them in recent matches, as Xavi exchanged passes with Fabregas before rifling a shot narrowly over.
Four minutes later the deadlock was broken, Iniesta threading a superb pass down the inside-right channel to Fabregas, who slipped around Giorgio Chiellini before cutting the ball back for Silva to head home.
Having being eclipsed by Iniesta in recent matches, Xavi proved that reports of his demise are grossly premature by creating Spain's second goal four minutes before half-time.
The 32-year-old maestro collected a pass from Alba and then delayed his pass supremely before freeing his future Barcelona team-mate to run in and place the ball past Buffon for his first international goal.
Italy's hopes of a comeback evaporated in the 62nd minute, as Motta was carried off on a stretcher with an apparent hamstring injury just five minutes after replacing Riccardo Montolivo, leaving Prandelli's side with 10 men.
The game dipped in intensity until the arrival of Torres, who rolled home Spain's third from Xavi's pass in the 84th minute before teeing up Chelsea team-mate Mata for an 88th-minute tap-in.
hoist – to lift something to a higher position ชูขึ้น ยกสูงขึ้น
crush – to completely defeat someone who is opposing you ทำลาย
crown – title; the position of a winner in a sports competition ตำแหน่งแชมป์
status – position สถานภาพ
overwhelm – to defeat someone by a large amount ล้น,ท่วมท้น
retain – to keep รักษา
defend a title (championship) – to win a competition again after winning the previous time it was held ชนะอีกครั้งหลังจากชนะเลิศครั้งก่อน
consecutive – following one after another in order ติดต่อกัน
triumph – a great victory or success ชัยชนะครั้งใหญ่
quarters – a group of people กลุ่มคน
thrilling – very exciting ทำให้ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ, เขย่าขวัญ
demonstration – a show; showing something clearly การสาธิต
beyond doubt (beyond a doubt)– certain; having no doubts อย่างแน่นอน, อย่างไม่มีข้อสงสัย
architect – the person who has the idea for something and makes it happen ผู้อยู่เบื้องหลัง ผู้บงการ
key – very important ที่สำคัญ
role – the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation บทบาท
tee up – (in football) to pass the ball into a position that your teammate can score easily
fellow – used for talking about people who are similar to you or are in the same situation ซึ่งอยู่ในสภาพเดียวกัน
substitute – a player who replaces another member of his or her team during a match ตัวสำรอง
react – to behave in a particular way because of something that is happening around you or something that someone is doing to you ตอบสนอง, เกิดปฏิกิริยา
possession – control of the ball การครองบอล
put pressure on – to force somebody to do something กดดัน, บังคับ
depth – the distance down either from the top of something to the bottom, or to a distance below the top surface of something ความลึก
qualify – to be of a high enough standard to enter a competition; to defeat another person or team in order to enter or continue in a competition เข้ารอบ, ทำให้มีคุณสมบัติ
handsome – large in amount or quantity
margin – the amount by which a competition is won จำนวนที่เกิน
savour – to enjoy a feeling or an experience thoroughly
unique – being the only one of its kind ซึ่งเป็นหนึ่งเดียว
magical – wonderful; very enjoyable วิเศษ, มหัศจรรย์
absorb – to take something into the mind and learn or understand it รับรู้, รับไว้
injury – physical damage done to a person or a part of their body อาการบาดเจ็บ
momentum – progress or development that is becoming faster or stronger แรงผลักดัน
knockout round – the part of a tournament when a losing team is forced out of the competition
terrific – excellent; wonderful ยอดเยี่ยมมาก, ดีเยี่ยม
obviously – clearly เห็นได้ชัด, อย่างชัดแจ้ง
semi-final (or semifinal) – one of the two games that are played immediately before the last game in a sports competition. The two people or teams who win the semifinals play each other in the last game, called the final, to decide who wins the competition การแข่งขันกีฬารอบรองชนะเลิศ
endure – to suffer something difficult, unpleasant or painful อดทน
fruitless – producing no good results, especially despite a lot of work ไร้ผล, ไร้ประโยชน์
upstage – to say or do something that makes people notice you more than the person that they should be interested in ดึงความสนใจของผู้ชมออกจากคนอื่น ๆ
master – a man who is very good at something ปรมาจารย์
adventure – an unusual, exciting and possibly dangerous activity การผจญภัย
incredible – difficult to believe ไม่น่าเชื่อ
quality – the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is คุณภาพ
false nine – an unusual football formation with a single striker, who drops deep into midfield
apparent – clear; able to be seen or understood ซึ่งเห็นได้ชัดว่า
glimpse – a quick look กวาดตามองอย่างรวดเร็ว ดูอย่างคร่าวๆ
pin-sharp – very accurate แม่นยำงมาก
elude – to be unable to achieve something ไม่สามารถประสบความสำเร็จ
rifle – to hit or kick a ball hard so that it moves very fast in a straight line
narrowly – by a very small distance
deadlock – a competition where both sides have the same score ความเสมอกัน
thread – in football, to put kick or pass the ball through a narrow space ทะลุผ่าน
superb – of the highest quality ยอดเยีี่ยม
slip – to get away from or escape from ออกไปเงียบๆ, หลบไปเงียบๆ
eclipse – to make someone or something seem less successful or important, by becoming more successful or important than they are ทำให้ลดความสำคัญลง
demise – death ความตาย
grossly – extremely อย่างสุดขีด, อย่างมาก
premature – happening too soon or before the usual time ก่อนเวลาอันควร
reports of his demise are grossly premature – it is much too early to say that his career is finished
maestro – a great performer, usually, but not always, a musician ผู้ชำนาญในศิลปะแขนงต่างๆ
delay – to make something happen at a later time than originally expected หน่วง, ซื้อเวลา, ยืดเวลา
supreme – very great or the greatest in degree สุดยอด
evaporate – to disappear; to appear to disappear like a liquid changing into gas or steam หายไปกับตา เปรียบเหมือนน้ำที่ระเหยกลายเป็นไอ
stretcher – a type of bed used for carrying someone who is injured, ill, or dead เปลพยาบาล
apparent – seeming to be something although it may not be real ดูเหมือนว่า, ตามที่เห็นภายนอก
hamstring – one of the five tendons behind the knee that connect the muscles of the upper leg to the bones of the lower leg เอ็นร้อยหวาย
replace – to put a new person or thing in the place of someone or something แทน
dip – to go downwards or to a lower level ตกลง, ลดลง
intensity – strength; level of activity ความเข้มข้น
tap-in – (in football) a light kick into the goal การแตะเบาๆ
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