Monday, July 1, 2013

1 July 2012 - Spain Completes A Record Hat-Trick

On 1 July 2012, Spain successfully defended their title as European champions, crushing Italy 4-0 in the final.

After a long history of near-misses and a reputation for failing to live up to expectations, Spain finally won a major tournament when they beat Germany in the Euro 2008 final, then followed that by lifting the World Cup trophy over the Netherlands in 2010.

In their first match of Euro 2012, they faced Italy in the group stage and played to a 1-1 draw. Both teams eventually advanced, with the defending champions winning the group and Italy just two points behind in second.

Making their way through the knockout rounds, the two teams faced off again in the final, played before a crowd of over 63,000 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. But it was no repeat of the previous match, as Spain took control early and never let up, getting goals from David Silva (14'), Jordi Alba (41'), Fernando Torres (84'), and Juan Mata (88'), with the latter two coming on as late substitutes.

The match set several milestones--it was the largest margin in Euro final history and the first time a team had won three consecutive major international tournaments. It was also the 100th international victory for Spanish goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas.

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