Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Ukraine

Spain Thrashes Italy 4-0 In Euro 2012 Final

Spain's Jordi Alba celebrates after scoring a goal against Italy in the first half of the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv.
Spain's Jordi Alba celebrates after scoring a goal against Italy in the first half of the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv.

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Photogallery Ukraine Defies Its Critics

When the Euro 2012 soccer championship began three weeks ago, the world expected the worst from co-host Ukraine. But as Kyiv prepares to hold the Italy-Spain final, the country has emerged with a nearly spotless record.

Multimedia

By RFE/RL
Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, defending the European title they won in 2008.

Spain, who are also world champions, are the first team to win three consecutive international trophies.

Spain dominated the game, attacking from the outset, and won their most convincing title so far.

Spain's David Silva scored a header in the 14th minute, while Jordi Alba made it 2-0 in the 41st minute. In the second half, it was Fernando Torres' turn to score, in the 84th minute, then Juan Mata gave Italy the coup de grace in the 88th minute.

After the game, the Spanish players received the trophy from UEFA President Michel Platini and held it aloft to the cheering crowds.

Spain, who had been criticized for playing careful football in the previous games, rediscovered their magic in the final.

They became the first team to pull off a hat trick following titles at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. The Spaniards are also the first to win back-to-back Euro titles and have now matched Germany's record of three continental titles, the first being in 1964.

Italy, who drew 1-1 with Spain in their opening group match and made a surprise run to the final after beating Germany 2-1 in the semifinals, failed to end a 44-year drought since their only European title back in 1968.

PHOTO GALLERY: A celebration of football in Kyiv
  • A combo photo shows portraits of soccer fans in Kyiv
  • Spanish supporters cheer in the fan zone in Kyiv.
  • Soccer fans wait in front of a billboard depicting a face painted in the Spanish national colors before the start of the final.
  • Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (right) and his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, before the final
  • Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili (left), Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (center), with his son Mykalay, and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian attend the Euro 2012 final.
  • Russian football fans watch the final in Moscow's Gorky Park.
  • Russian football fans watch the final in Moscow's Gorky Park.
  • Russian football fans watch the final in Moscow's Gorky Park.
  • Russian football fans watch the final in Moscow's Gorky Park.
  • Celebrating in the fan zone in Kyiv before the final
  • Spanish midfielder David Silva heads the ball to score the first goal of the Euro 2012 final.
  • Spanish defender Jordi Alba celebrates after scoring the second goal in the final.
  • Spanish forward Fernando Torres (right) celebrates the win with his teammates.
  • Spanish players celebrate after their victory.
  • Spanish players celebrate
  • Spain's Fernando Torres lifts up the Euro 2012 trophy.
  • Fireworks explode over Kyiv's Olympic Stadium after the final.

The Azzurri were down to 10 men for the final half hour as Thiago Motta was stretchered off injured four minutes after coming on and coach Cesare Prandelli had already made all three substitutions.

Earlier, Platini had praised Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine and Poland, saying the two countries had organized a "fantastic tournament."

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, speaking at a news conference on July 1 with visiting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, said the two countries had gained valuable experience from organizing the tournament together.

"I'm sure that this experience we obtained will be useful in the future to find possibilities to unite efforts in order to reach positive results," he said.

Komorowski said Euro 2012 was a victory for both countries.

"Even though neither the Polish or Ukrainian teams are playing in the final, one thing is for sure," he said. "The Euro 2012 is a victory for both Poland and Ukraine."

However, the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko cast a shadow over the tournament, with many EU politicians boycotting the event.  

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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