Spain's Juan Mata embraces Fernando Torres (9) as they celebrate… (Laurence Griffiths / Getty…)
Spain scored early and, eventually, often to trounce Italy, 4-0, in the 2012 European Championship final on Sunday in Kiev, Ukraine, to become the first team to repeat as champion and hold three major world titles.
The Spaniards, the reigning World Cup champion who were missing two star players in the tournament because of injuries, opened the scoring in the 14th minute when David Silva headed home a cross by Cesc Fabregas from the left side.
The Italians, who were matching Spain shot for shot as well as time of possession, gave up another goal minutes before halftime when Jordi Alba streaked down the left side to collect a pass from Xavi Hernandez before beating Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Substitute Fernando Torres gave Spain an insurmountable three-goal lead with a strike in the 84th minute to become the first player to score in two European Championship finals.
Juan Mata scored in the 88th minute to finish the rout of Italy, which played a man down for much of the second half when Thiago Motta was injured after the team had used its three substitutions.
Spain, which was missing high-scoring forward David Villa and top defender Carles Puyol because of injuries, won by the largest margin of victory in a European Championship final, eclipsing West Germany's 3-0 win over the Soviet Union in 1972.
"We respect [Italy] very much. They were a great rival, but we took control of the game as time went by," Spain Coach Vicente del Bosque said.
Buffon, Italy's captain, admitted his team was outclassed.
“Tonight, there was no contest, they were too superior — so the bitterness at losing this final is only relative,” he said.
European Championship finalists are on different missions
Dodgers' Matt Kemp, Angels' Mike Trout earn All-Star game spots
Horton, Mikulak, Dalton added to U.S. men's Olympic gymnastics team