Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spain Does it Again

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Congratulations to La Furia Roja, winners of Euro 2012. Spain defeated Italy 4-0 today to capture their second consecutive Euro Cup sparking a debate as to whether or not this Spanish team is among the best teams ever assembled. Spain capped off the tournament with 5 consecutive shutouts outscoring their opponents 12-1 in their six game run to the title. Let's not forget the fact that they played this tournament without David Villa - the Euro 2008 Golden Boot Winner - or Carles Puyol - their anchor on defense. Granted Spain caught a bit of a break when Italy lost Thiago Motta to a shredded hamstring in the second half after the Italians had used all three of their allotted substitutions forcing them to play a man down for much of the second half, but it was already 2-0 at that point and Italy would've been hardpressed to overcome that deficit even at full strength.

Some other interesting details from Spain's win today:

*Jordi Alba's goal was his first ever for Spain. It was a busy week for Alba who also inked a 5 year deal with Barcelona on Thursday after five years with Valencia. Alba came up through the Barcelona youth system before getting released in 2005.

*Spain is the first country ever to win back-to-back European Championships.  West Germany made three consecutive finals from 1972 to 1980, but lost the 1976 final to Czechoslovakia on penalties.

*Fernando Torres's second half goal won him the tournament's Golden Boot. Not bad for a guy who couldn't buy a goal for Chelsea earlier this season.

*Torres and Juan Mata joined a small group of players who won the Champions League and European Championship during the same year. The others are Luis Suárez (Internazionale and Spain in 1964) and Hans van Breukelen, Berry van Aerle, Ronald Koeman and Gerald Vanenburg (PSV and Netherlands in 1988). Torres and Mata both scored in the Euro 2012 Final.

*Spanish keeper Iker Casillas has won 100 of his 137 international matches, becoming the first player ever to reach a century of international wins. He also holds the world record with 79 clean sheets.

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