Spain vs. Italy Live: Instant Analysis of 2012 Euro Final

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Spain vs. Italy Live: Instant Analysis of 2012 Euro Final
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Italy and Spain are ready to face off in the finals of Euro 2012. So far, the two traditional powerhouses have run through the tournament undefeated.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 4:38 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

And that is it, Spain has once again proven itself as the world's top national side. The Italians gave a valiant effort but they had no answer for Spain today. The Spanish have now won back-to-back Euro championships and the 2010 World Cup in between. 

The 4-0 win over Italy was never in doubt, and while Italy competed as hard as it could, but after losing Motta to injury and being down to 10 men, there was no chance to win it. 

Spain is the first team to ever win three tournament titles in a row and we can start the discussion over whether or not they are the greatest national team of all-time. 

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 4:31 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

This is getting sad. Juan Mata came in as a sub for Iniesta and on his first touch he took a pass from Torres and put it away. Spain now leads 4-0 after that 88th minute goal.

Four goals is the most ever scored in a Euro final, and the most ever conceded by an Italian team.

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 4:27 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

And there's another. Fernando Torres breaks through and makes it 3-0 with a really nice run and finish. Xavi had a steal and through ball right to Torres, who slotted it past Buffon to cap this one in the 84th minute. 

Torres now becomes the first man to score in two Euro finals. 

Italy is just tired after having been run ragged by the Spanish for the entire game, and now down a man. The three goals tie the most Italy has ever conceded.

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 4:08 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

Things have now gone from bad to worse for the Italians. Thiago Motta appears to have badly injured his hamstring and had to be removed from the game. Unfortunately, Italy has used all of its substitutions, therefore they must play with only 10 men on the pitch.

So Italy trails what could be the greatest national team side of all-time 2-0 and it only has 10 players on the field. Ouch.

It is still 2-0 Spain in the 66th minute.

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 3:35 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

We've reach the half and it looks like Spain is running away to another major championship. It would be their team's third in a row after winning Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. If they can finish out the final 45 minutes and win Euro 2012, the Spanish would certainly put themselves in the conversation as the greatest team of all-time. 

There's more bad news for Italy, as Spain has won its last 61 matches in which it scored first.

It's 2-0 Spain leads at the half. 

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 3:28 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

Spain has done it again, in the 41st minute, they have a beautiful pass from Xavi to Jordi Alba, who slotted it past Buffon for a gorgeous goal. Alba, who is playing left back, made what might be the run of the tournament to get in position to receive that ball from Xavi, who has been oustanding so far today. 

Spain is finding gaps in Italy's defense be stretching them out. The Italians had several solid chances but couldn't put anything in the net during the middle stretch of the opening 45 minutes. Now they trail 2-0.

-End of Update-

UPDATE: Sunday, July 1, 3:04 p.m. ET by Ryan Phillips

Well scratch anything about this looking like a tough match early on, Spain got a quick goal from the previously absent David Silva in the 14th minute, off of a gorgeous pass from Cesc Fabregas. Silva headed the ball home for his second goal of the tournament.

The Spanish have dominated possession so far in this one and look to be in top form, while the Italians have been reacting defensively and looking solely for long balls to Balotelli over the top. That's not a formula that will equal success for Italy.

Spain is 14-0-2 when scoring first all-time in Euro play.

It is 1-0 for the Spanish early and they are already looking for more.

--End of Update--

The Spanish have clearly been the best team in the field and have dominated throughout, using a ridiculously deep and talented roster to control games from start to finish. Despite an uninspired performance against Portugal in the semifinals, Spain was able to come away with a win in penalty kicks. The fact that the Spanish played an average match and still managed to beat an inspired Portugal team tells you all you need to know about their abilities.

Meanwhile, the Italians have relied heavily on striker Mario Balotelli, midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo and keeper Gianluigi Buffon to get them to the final. Italy will have its hands full containing Spain's Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Xavi in the midfield, and I have no idea how they will break down the wall of a defense the Spanish team fields. 

But Italy has found a way to get things done to this point in the tournament and has advanced on the strength of three goals by Balotelli. 

The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw to open the tournament in the group stage, but the atmosphere and stakes will be much different this time around.

Spain is the defending Euro and World Cup champion and it will be extremely difficult for the Italians to wrest control away from their new rivals for European supremacy. 

Get ready to settle in and watch what could be an instant classic, and a perfect clash in styles. 

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