KIEV, Ukraine – Spain won its third consecutive major soccer title Sunday, beating Italy, 4-0, in the European Championship final.
David Silva and Jordi Alba scored first-half goals, and Fernando Torres and Juan Mata added goals in the second half as the Spanish passing game worked its magic against the Italians at the Olympic Stadium to win Euro 2012.
Spain won the Euro 2008 title four years ago in Vienna, Austria, and followed that up with the World Cup title in Johannesburg, South Africa, two years ago.
“We won being true to our playing style, and by moving the ball the we way we moved it we knew how to take charge of the match,” said Spain goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas. “What we do is difficult but we make it look easy.”
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Silva headed in a high shot in the 14th minute off a pass from Cesc Fabregas. Alba added another in the 41st, picking up a beautiful through ball from midfielder Xavi Hernandez and shooting past Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Torres posted the third goal in the 84th minute, becoming the first to score in two European Championship finals.
Four years ago at Euro 2008, Spain ended a 44-year drought of major titles, beating Germany, 1-0, in the final to start a run that has been unmatched in history.
“We were superior to Italy,” Hernandez said. “We played a complete game and perhaps the best of the entire European Championship. We made history.”
Torres and Mata play for English Premier League club Chelsea, which will play a friendly at Seattle Sounders FC on July 18 at CenturyLink Field.
“Tonight, there was no contest,” Italy captain Buffon said. “They were too superior, so the bitterness at losing this final is only relative.
In all that time since Euro 2008, Spain has won with flair, using its short passing game — dubbed “tiki taka” by the Spanish media and adopted by the team — to dazzle scrambling opponents.
“They’ve been playing at a very high level for years,” Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. “And even though they didn’t use any traditional striker, they were able to give weight to their attack.”