Euro 2012: ‘Great Spain era’, says coach Vicente Del Bosque

Coach Vicente del Bosque has hailed Spain’s “great generation of footballers” after their historic win over Italy in the final

Cesc Fabregas, Dani Guiza and Fernando Torres ...

Cesc Fabregas, Dani Guiza and Fernando Torres celebrating Spain's Euro 08 championship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of Euro 2012.

La Roja‘s 4-0 victory in Kiev made them the first team to win three successive major international tournaments.

“We’re talking about a great generation of footballers,” said Del Bosque.

“They know how to play together because they come from a country where they learn to play properly. This is a great era for Spanish football.”

Del Bosque the man, the manager

Vicente del Bosque
  • Vicente del Bosque was born two days before Christmas 1950.
  • His hometown is Salamanca in western Spain.
  • Played as a midfielder for Real Madrid for 14 years, winning five league titles and four cups.
  • Represented Spain 18 times between 1975-80.
  • Had three spells in charge of Real, winning the league and the Champions League twice.
  • Del Bosque has managed the national side since July 2008.
  • He is only the second coach to win a European Championship and a World Cup, joining Helmut Schoen of West Germany.

The 61-year-old added: “We have some great lads who play abroad, which was impossible before. We didn’t really have players abroad and now foreign clubs want our players.

“To win three titles is almost impossible. Congratulations to the players.

“It’s true we were lucky enough to play a great match. Everything worked for us. It was an extraordinary performance against a difficult opponent.

“We played our own game. There were no real external influences – we were faithful to what we’ve done in recent years.

“I didn’t really want to be the coach who wins but the coach who educates. I want to keep preparing them for the future.”

Spain were at their scintillating best as goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres – who became the first player to score in two Euros finals – and Juan Mata helped them overpower the Italians by the biggest winning margin in a Euros final. They also retained the crown they first won in Vienna four years ago.

Dropped for the semi-final against Portugal, Cesc Fabregas returned to Spain’s starting line-up to occupy the ‘false nine’ role he had taken up against Italy in the 1-1 draw between the sides in Group C on June 10.https://i2.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/02-07-12-pg1c.jpg

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli also made one change to his starting XI, with Ignazio Abate replacing Federico Balzaretti at right-back after missing the semi-final win over Germany due to muscle fatigue.

It was quickly apparent that Spain had a point to prove and in the 10th minute there was a glimpse of the pin-sharp attacking football that had eluded them in recent matches, as Xavi exchanged passes with Fabregas before rifling a shot narrowly over.

Four minutes later the deadlock was broken, Iniesta threading a superb pass down the inside-right channel to Fabregas, who slipped around Giorgio Chiellini before cutting the ball back for Silva to head home.

Chiellini’s evening lasted barely more than 20 minutes, as the Juventus defender was forced off after landing awkwardly and had to be replaced by Balzaretti.

Having being eclipsed by Iniesta in recent matches, Xavi proved that reports of his demise are grossly premature by creating Spain’s second goal four minutes before half-time.

The 32-year-old maestro collected a pass from Alba and then delayed his pass supremely before freeing his future Barcelona team-mate to run in and place the ball past Gianluigi Buffon for his first international goal.

Prandelli replaced Cassano with Antonio Di Natale at the interval and the Udinese man made an immediate impact, heading just over from Abate’s centre and then obliging Casillas to save after ghosting in behind Spain’s defence.

At the other end, Buffon thwarted Fabregas after the Barcelona man weaved his way past Balzaretti and Leonardo Bonucci, who was lucky not to concede a penalty when he appeared to block Sergio Ramos’ header with his arm.

Italy’s hopes of a comeback evaporated in the 62nd minute, as Motta was carried off on a stretcher with an apparent hamstring injury just five minutes after replacing Riccardo Montolivo, leaving Prandelli’s side with 10 men.

The game dipped in intensity until the arrival of Torres, who rolled home Spain’s third from Xavi’s pass in the 84th minute before teeing up Chelsea team-mate Mata for an 88th-minute tap-in.

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