As a fan of the Spanish soccer team, I was nervous before the final match. From the outset, though, Spain pushed dangerous attacks on Italy and lessened my concern that they may come out conservative. Fourteen minutes into the game, David Silva headed the Spaniards into a 1-0 lead. In addition to Spain's ability to control the ball for much of the game; in this match they also put continuous pressure on Italy's goal.
Italy, played a great tournament, and had several excellent chances to tie the championship game, but Spanish goalie Casillas made some key saves when he was called upon. Then in the 41st minute, Spain went up 2-0 on a goal by Jordi Alba.
In the end Spain won 4-0. As I type, much is being written around the world about how amazing this Spanish team is. When I say "this team", I'm not talking about the players for Spain in this tournament, but the core of players who have been dominant since 2008. They have redefined soccer. They are playing a style of quick passing that has been labeled 'tiki taka'. This team is fueled by an improvish group of 6 midfield players who pass the ball in ways that have been a joy for football fans. They have also now put themselves into the history books. Spain is the first team to win 3 major tournaments in a row: Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012.
There are many facts and opinions online explaining the dominance of this team since 2008. I will not attempt to summarize them. I will include links for some videos, slideshows and articles.
I will sign off by thanking Doug Miner (Editor of the Patch for Maplewood / Brentwood) for letting me write this Euro blog, thanks to all the local sports bars that now show the games and get great turnouts, and thanks to Spain for providing a very memorable day of soccer!
Click here to see the Spanish starting 11 players for final match.
Click here to see ESPN highlights of the Championship game.
Click here to read about "tiki taka" Spanish style of soccer.
...for those interested, the internet soccer sites starting now and probably for the next week will be accumulating articles, videos, stories, pictures, etc.