Euro 2012 in a nutshell: the ups and downs
The biggest footballing event of the summer 2012 has just ended and before the dust settles, we take a look at how it all went down - from start to finish, in a dramatic one-sided final that saw Spain clinching the title and most deservedly at that.
Spain's journey to the top Continue reading below »
Spain secured the championship of Euro 2012 after a rather shaky start to the tournament in their group stage matches. They weren't all that convincing in their opening match in which they drew against the Italians 1-1, and what's more were almost knocked out of the competition by Croatia, before coming out with a narrow 1-0 win.
Afterwards, they met France in the Quarter Finals, for an easy match that ended 2-0 in favor of the revving-up Spaniards. Then they faced neighboring Iberian Portugal in the Semis in what was a tough challenge for Spain that was only thrashed out in penalties. Spain's experience played a key role in their qualification for the final. Once La Roja found their stride, they had put all hesitanancy and early nerves firmly behind them.
The best for Euro
The best teams for performance in the tournament included Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Sweden among others not least of all Azzurri. Italy reached the final much to its credit proving its doubters wrong. Spain had an easier ride, un-threatened or deterred from their road to defending the championship by France.
Spain comes out with a blazing victory and record that sees it add another heavy-weight title to their impressive armada. Unrivalled as the first team to win 3 major tournamtents in a row (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012), this is a major and enviable European and global acheivment and unprecedented in all senses. No other country in the world circuit seems to be displaying the same unparalleled hunger of these feisty Spaniards who are more than the winners taking all. They prove that a winner's streak can play out on the big occasions.
If it ain't broke
Other teams will be taking stock and learning from the fact that sometimes, even if it ain't broke, maintanance and repair are sitll key to going into a major tournament in tip-top shape. England and France both certainly came under attack for team selection and cracks in their games that should have been addressed rather than glossed over while sporadic victories masked over them.
The final match on Sunday night was not really the final the people had wanted, in so much as the competition was flagging and the match was hardly a match at all. Italy did not touch Spain's possession and speed.
Where were Italy?
The hearty Italians were certainly not really in the final at all, for all intents and purposes. They showed little gusto and many signs of strain and fatigue from a more toil-intensive journey to their place in the final, playing England and Germany in the lead up. The Italian emotion kicked in as the runners-up have left their fans as well as players with man-tears and a feeling of absence from a final they never really got a foot in.
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