Euro 2012 came to an end on Sunday night with Spain beating Italy 4-0 to become the first nation to win three major tournaments in a row.
I have been quite critical of Spain in this tournament but everything clicked into place on Sunday night.
From the very first whistle Spain took the game to Italy. We have become accustomed to Spain having a lot of possession and passing the ball around in the attacking third but they always appeared to be reluctant to hit a shot. This was not the case on Sunday. Xavi and Iniesta both had shots blocked in the opening minutes and Xavi also went close with another effort which went just over the bar.
After just 14 minutes, Spain were ahead. Iniesta played the ball into Fabregas and instead of swinging a boot at it from a tough angle he took an extra touch and then pulled the ball back for Silva to head into the empty goal. It was classic Spain. Any other player in any other team would have tried a rash first time shot but Fabregas showed great coolness to take the extra touch which completely took Buffon out of the game and in the end it was a simple finish for Silva.
Italy fought back well after the goal and created some trouble for Spain by putting high balls into the box. Casillas flapped at a few but Spain managed to hold on throughout a difficult period.
The next goal was always going to be vital and once again, it was Spain who got it. Jordi Alba played a pass to Xavi and then set off on a lung bursting run. Xavi played a perfect ball into his path and he was able to slot past Buffon.
As if being 2-0 down wasn't bad enough for Italy, things got even worse in the second half. Thiago Motta, just minutes after coming on, went down with a hamstring injury. Motta had been used as the third substitute and Italy had to play the remainder of the game with 10 men.
They managed to hold Spain off until the last few minutes. On 84 minutes, Torres got on the end of a through ball to put the ball past Buffon to make the score 3-0. Minutes later he found himself one on one with Buffon again but this time he played a pass back into the path of Juan Mata who shot into the empty net.
4-0 was quite harsh on Italy but Spain were fantastic and deserved the victory. Spain are now the first team to win 3 major tournaments in a row and if their success at under age level is anything to go by then it will take a mammoth effort to stop them from extending that record.
Italy have done themselves proud in Euro 2012. They came into the tournament with their national league coming under scrutiny yet again.They also lost their three warmup games. Many people had written them off before a ball was kicked but they managed to battle through their problems. The performance against Germany will live long in the memory of everyone who saw it. Andrea Pirlo showed that age doesn't matter if you have the talent and he was very unlucky to have missed out on the Player of the Tournament award.
For Spain it is simply a case of keep doing what you are doing. For the last four years they have been untouchable in competive action. They seem to have a conveyor belt of talent coming through and with players like Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso to guide them then the sky really is the limit.