Spain staked its claim to the title of greatest team of all-time, winning its third consecutive international championship with an overwhelming 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final. The anonymous Stats Inc. live commentator has all the details, here in excerpted form.
0’ — Spain are one game away from making history in the sport. No team has ever won back-to-back European Championships, and Spain know that not only can they break that record but they can also become the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments. This Spanish generation’s place in the annals of football history is already secure, but a win this evening would ensure that they go down as arguably the greatest ever national side.
0’ — There’s one change apiece for the teams, with Ignazio Abate coming in for Balzaretti at right-back for Italy and Cesc Fabregas picked as the false nine for Spain. We now know how Spain are going to play, but for Italy there is still some doubt. It's possible that they could use a back three with this group of players – we'll have to wait and see.
2’ — The ball falls to Andrea Pirlo on the edge of the area as Italy see plenty of the ball early on, but his shot is rushed and slices harmlessly wide.
9’ — Xavi finds himself in space on the edge of the area after another endless Spanish passing move, and Gianluigi Buffon is mightily relieved to see the midfielder's fizzing shot fly inches over the bar.
13’ — GOAL SPAIN! David Silva puts Spain 1-0 up in the final, and Italy have a mountain to climb now . . . It was classic football from the Spanish, expertly finished by David Silva. Alvaro Arbeloa’s perfectly weighted pass into the area from the right picked out the run of Cesc Fabregas, and the Barcelona man did brilliantly to hold off Giorgio Chiellini and cut a cross back onto the head of David Silva. He’s hardly the tallest man on the pitch, but it was a great header and left Gianluigi Buffon with no chance.
23’ — Cesare Prandelli will be concerned about what’s he’s seeing out there. Italy are looking shaky at the back and are struggling to keep the ball, while Spain are looking dangerously dominant for such an early stage in the game.
28’ — Italy break and Antonio Cassano works himself some space on the left of the area. Twisting and turning, he manages to get a shot away through two pairs of legs, but Iker Casillas keeps his eyes on the ball and makes a reasonably comfortable save.
40’ — GOAL SPAIN! Jordi Alba scores a fantastic second goal and Spain have one hand on their third straight major title! . . . There seemed little on as Spain meandered forward, but Jordi Alba had other ideas — making a lung-bursting run forward from left-back to give Xavi an option. The Barca maestro took his time, waited for the pass to be on and then slid a perfect ball through for his new club team-mate, who finished past Gianluigi Buffon with aplomb. 2-0!
45’ — HALFTIME: SPAIN 2, ITALY 0. The whistle goes to end a stunning first half display by Spain.
45’ — Lest we forget, Spain have not conceded a single goal in knockout games at a major tournament since 2006 — that’s a run of ten and a half matches against top quality opposition. Italy have threatened in patches, but for the Azzurri to score twice without conceding in this second half is a massive ask.
46’ — Italy get the second half underway and have made a change, replacing the exhausted Antonio Cassano with Antonio Di Natale. . . . Antonio Di Natale very nearly scores with his first touch! A cross into the Spain box is expertly met by the substitute ahead of Gerard Pique and it squeaks just over the bar.
48’ — The ball bounces up and clearly strikes Leonardo Bonucci on the arm in the box, but the referee waves play-on. The Spanish are furious about that, and you have to say that they’ve got a point.
50’ — Italy have come flying out of the blocks in this second half, and Antonio Di Natale goes close to pulling them back into the game. Picked out in the area, his drive is parried by Iker Casillas, but his follow-up flicked cross from a prone position on the floor can’t pick out a team-mate at the back post.
56’ — Cesare Prandelli makes his third and final change, bringing on Thiago Motta for Riccardo Montolivo in the centre of the park. That should freshen things up for Italy in there, and they are looking the better side at the moment. A goal in the next ten minutes would be perfect for the Azzurri and equally perfect for the final.
60’ — Italy have made their three changes, but Thiago Motta pulls up with a hamstring problem just minutes after coming on. You can’t blame the manager really, he had to change things up, but Italy are down to ten men in their hunt for two goals and it’s hard to see how there’s a way back for them now.
66’ — It will take something quite remarkable if Italy are to get back into this game, and the one team you don't want to be facing in this situation is Spain. Del Bosque’s side are stroking the ball around and pressing Italy back whenever the demoralised Azzurri do manage to get hold of possession.
70’ — They’re dead on their feet, and Italy are struggling to even get out of their own half, yet alone work it into Antonio Di Natale.
83’ — GOAL SPAIN! Fernando Torres scores the third goal to end any lingering hopes of an Italian revival and secure an historic win for Spain. . . . Spain are making history in Kiev, becoming the first team to win back-to-back European titles and the first to win three consecutive major tournaments. Not just that, but Fernando Torres has just scored made it two goals in two Euro finals, sliding the ball past Gianluigi Buffon after perfectly timing his run to get in behind the defence. It’s 3-0 and that’s well and truly game over.
87’ — GOAL SPAIN! This is turning into a rout, and its Juan Mata who grabs it just moments after coming onto the field for the first time in the tournament. 4-0!
90’ — FULL TIME: Spain 4, Italy 0. The final whistle goes as Spain cement their place in the record books with an astonishing 4-0 win in Kiev.