Sunday, 1 July 2012

UEFA Euro 2012 Final - Spain vs Italy: LIVE Analysis

This is it: Spain vs Italy in the Euro 2012 Final, LIVE from Kiev.

Hello and welcome to my LIVE Commentary and analysis of the final match from this year's UEFA Euro 2012 in Ukraine, Kiev where European champions Spain look to retain their title against a shock Italy side who were not expected to be here tonight.

Spain go in as favourites, as they are the defending champions, and have looked impressive throughout the campaign.
Italy beat Germany on Thursday to get here, and may look fatigued having played and beaten England just last Sunday.

My Prediction:
Spain comfortable win, maybe 3 or 4 goals.


Spain: Casillas, Arbeloa, Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta. 

Subs: Valdes, Albiol, Javi Martinez, Juanfran, Pedro, Torres, Negredo, Mata, Llorente, Santi Cazorla, Jesus Navas, Reina.

Only Manchester City winger David Silva does not play for Barcelona or Real Madrid in Spain's starting 11 tonight.*

*Alba joined Barca on Saturday for £11million.

Italy: Buffon, Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano. 

FACT: This will be goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's 120th International cap tonight.

FACT: Italy have not won the Euros since 1968 in Italy, where there were only 4 teams in the WHOLE tournament.

Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Balzaretti, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

The national anthems have finished, and so has the closing ceremony from Ukraine.
The epic countdown has begun....

0: The referee blows the whistle to start this Euro 2012 Final.

15: It has been all Spain at the moment. 
It's no wonder why they are in-front.
A brilliant passing spell by Xavi, Fabregas and Iniesta, before Cesc's cross inside the box found David Silva who towered over Buffon to head into an empty net. 1-0 to Spain!

Clinical finish: A nice passing spell by Spain was finished by Manchester City's David Silva with a header.

1-0: Silva celebrates his header against Italy in the 14th minute to give the defending champions the lead.

In the last fifteen minutes, we have seen the first yellow card of the final given to Barcelona defender Gerard Pique for a late challenge, and Italy are starting to look more threatening towards goal. Cassano and Balotelli are trying to get into the match now, and they are pressing for the equaliser. 

It is half-time in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. 

Spain lead by 2 goals to nil with new Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba scoring the second goal in the 41st minute after his electric burst of pace an d positioning to keep himself onside was found by Barcelona midfielder Xavi with a through ball before a lovely finish past Buffon.

Barca's £11million talent: Jordi Alba cooly slots home past Buffon to double Spain's lead.
GOAL: Alba celebrates his 1st senior international goal for Spain. And his first of the tournament.
Italy made a substitution at half-time with Cassano coming off and Di Natale coming on.

The Udinese striker had an immediate impact giving Italy some danger up-front but they still have not scored yet.

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas made an amazing solo effort in the 47th minute, beating three defenders before chipping the ball into the box, but Buffon held on to the ball. 

Montolivo came off and Thiago Motta replaced him after 57 minutes.

62: Oh dear.
Midfielder Thiago Motta is injured here, and Italy are down to ten men. They have made all three substitutions, and it is not looking good.

63: He is being stretched off now and the replays show that it is a hamstring strain when he was running for the ball.

65: It looks like game over now. Spain dominating possession now, and taking advantage of the one man more.

75: Spain SUB:

Fernando Torres ON
Cesc Fabregas OFF

Barcelona's midfielder Cesc Fabregas is coming off, well played while Chelsea striker Torres replaces him.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres finds himself in space after a pass from Xavi inside the box before slotting the ball away and past Buffon into an empty net.

Super sub: Chelsea striker Fernando Torres puts his shooting boots on to score against Buffon, and kill the game.
Relief: Torres becomes the first player to score in two European Championship finals, back-to-back.

Spain SUB:

Andres Iniesta OFF
Juan Mata ON

Better late than never isn't it?
Chelsea winger Juan Mata comes on in the last five or so minutes here.

88: GOAL!!!!

It's a thrashing now surely?
What an impact in the first minute by Mata.

Fernando Torres finds himself one-on-one with Buffon, but sees Mata in space and unselfishly passes through to him before Mata hits the ball into the net.

Huge impact: Chelsea winger Juan Mata scores his first goal, in the first minute of his Euros.
Come over here: Mata accelerates to celebrate his goal with team-mate Torres who assisted him.
90: The fourth official signals three minutes of added time here.

90+3:| The referee blows ther whistle to end this match. 


Spain 4 Italy 0


SPAIN HAVE RETAINED THEIR EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP, and become the first team to win three International Championships in a row.