Could Spain make it a third major trophy in a row or would Italy be crowned new kings of Europe; by beating the world champions in Kiev?
Who would have thought it would have been so one-sided.
Spain began the Euro 2012 final with some quick interchanging of passes and even a couple of early shots on goal.
Spain 1 – Italy 0 (14mins)
A goal was on the cards as Italy struggled to cope with Spain’s passing and movement; Cesc Fábregas ran into the right side of the penalty box then flicked the ball up for David Silva to power into the goal with his forehead.
With Pirlo neutralised, Italy were finding it hard to get back into the game.
Half-time: Spain 2 – Italy 0
Italy never really came into the game in the second-half.
Final Score: Spain 4 – Italy 0
1-Gianluigi Buffon; 3-Giorgio Chiellini, 7-Ignazio Abate, 15-Andrea Barzagli, 19-Leonardo Bonucci; 8-Claudio Marchisio, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 18-Riccardo Montolivo, 21-Andrea Pirlo; 9-Mario Balotelli, 10-Antonio Cassano.
In a semi-final match between two of the top footballing nations in Europe we would have hoped for an exciting ninety minutes. Those days seem to be gone.
Spain’s possession football is about as exciting as a tortoise looking for ice-cream.
For Portugal, Nani might have been able to excite the fans, if he could get the ball but at least Ronaldo tried to run at the Spaniards in the thirteenth and sixteenth minutes.
Portugal hustled the Spanish with their own attacking play and frustrated them with their pressing; their desire to get the ball and run with it, through Nani and Ronaldo. So much so that Spain were forced to kick and run on the half-hour. Maybe we did have a game in the making.
Spain held the ball and frustrated the crowd once again, seven minutes from half-time. If only the world champions would play with some Brazilian flair, they might win more fans over.
Half-time: Portugal 0 – Spain 0
Spain tried to get their game going by stringing a few passes together but it all looked so uninspiring; so much so that Cesc Fàbregas replaced Álvaro Negredo, with less than ten minutes played of the second-half.
Spain’s playing with non-strikers didn’t set the world alight as the second-half deteriorated from bad to worse; aided and abetted by the referee. Having said that, he wouldn’t have had to blow his whistle all the time if the players didn’t get all edgy; Portugal’s entire back four entering the book, joined by three Spaniards.
The tense final minutes were broken by a faint, half-hearted chorus of E-span-ia, E-span-ia.
On a counter-attack in the final minute of normal time, Cristiano Ronaldo had the chance to seal the win for Portugal.
With four white shirts streaming towards Iker Casillas, all of Spain breathed a massive sigh of relief as one Real Madrid player sliced the ball high over the other.
Into Extra Time…..
Spain came alive in the final five minutes of the first period of extra-time; as Rui Patricio dived to his left to deny Iniesta.
Rui Patricio had to make another world-class save in the second period of extra-time; this time from Seville’s Jesús Navas.
Although Spain continued to pile on the pressure it would have been an injustice if they’d have nicked the game after their ninety minutes siesta.
Ronaldo didn’t get the chance to take the fifth penalty after a nervous Bruno Alves hit the bar; having earlier forgot the order and almost stepping up in front of Nani.
Fabregas then put Spain into the final; in off the post. It might have been Portugal, had Ronaldo not tried to set himself up as the glory boy with the last kick.
Final Score Portugal 0 – Spain 0 aet (2:4pens)
This was the start of the big games for England and the big players needed to stand up. Would we see a show or showmanship? Who would get the first red card – Wayne Rooney or Mario Balotelli.
With everyone looking flat-footed in the third minute, Daniele De Rossi sliced a swirling shot high on Joe Hart’s post.
Two minutes later, Glen Johnson’s stab at the ball was comfortably palmed to a stop by Gianluigi Buffon.
A good early start to the game, but nil-nil looked on the cards.
Danny Welbeck had a nice chance after a neat one-two with Wayne Rooney but when Andrea Pirlo was allowed a little time and space, Mario Balotell was always a threat; and not just to himself.
Half-time: England 0 – Italy 0
For long periods of the second-half there only seemed to be one team in the game; Italy.
They were frustratingly stopped time and again by various body parts of John Terry though.
Ashley Young looked a liability on the left but managed to hang on for ninety minutes; having avoided being replaced during the double substitution on the hour.
And so it was; the last of the quarter-finals became the first game of the tournament without a goal scored in ninety minutes.
England 0 – Italy 0 aet
England were lucky to be still in the tournament after ninety minutes against Italy and somehow held out for another thirty.
Two hours without a goal meant just one thing; penalties.
And as in the game, so it was in the spot kicks; Ashley Young the deadweight hit the crossbar and Ashley Cole took too long then hit the ball too soft.
Deservedly, Italy meet the Germans.
1-Gianluigi Buffon; 6-Federico Balzaretti,7-Ignazio Abate, 15-Andrea Barzagli; 19-Leonardo Bonucci, 8-Claudio Marchisio, 16-Daniele De Rossi, 18-Riccardo Montolivo, 21-Andrea Pirlo; 9-Mario Balotelli, 10-Antonio Cassano.
- Brazil 2014
- Euro 2012
- Euro 2016
- European Football
- Match Reports
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Ivory Coast
- South Korea
- World Football