Spain vs. Italy: 5 Biggest Heroes for Spain in Final Victory over Italy

Dan Renfro@danrenfroCorrespondent IIIJuly 1, 2012

Spain vs. Italy: 5 Biggest Heroes for Spain in Final Victory over Italy

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    Spain finally put it all together.

    For the first time at Euro 2012, La Roja thoroughly destroyed the opposition. From start to finish, there was no doubt that Spain was the superior side.

    It was undoubtedly a team effort, but certain players made a bigger impact than others. These heroes changed the game, and they will be remembered as legends for years to come. Remember, for this article, these heroes are strictly from the final, even though I do talk about the entirety of their tournaments.

5. Fernando Torres

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    This group hug isn't from the end of the game; it's from Fernando Torres' goal.

    And look who's on top: Cesc Fabregas.

    You know, the man that Torres has been battling for playing time throughout the tournament.

    These Spanish players love playing together, and they understand the greatness they obtained. Torres put the game out of reach with his clinical finish in the 85th minute. He claimed the golden boot and solidified himself as a Spanish legend.

4. David Silva

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    David Silva has looked tired since Christmas, but he had a great tournament.

    He plays a completely different role between his club and country, but he adjusted without any issue. He played a part in five goals in the tournament, and his 14th minute header put Spain ahead for good.

    Teams were so worried about Iniesta on the left side that Silva was able to dominate on the right side. His creativity was top notch, and he added another dimension to the Spanish attack.

3. Iker Casillas

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    The 4-0 scoreline does not tell the whole story of the game.

    If Iker Casillas hadn't come up big time and again, the Azzurri could very well be European champions.

    Casillas made a few clearances on crosses that were essential to holding the clean sheet. Italy had headers lined up, but Casillas made the necessary play to prevent a goal. Additionally, his point-blank save against Antonio Di Natale was the biggest play of the match.

    Spain's attack was great, but it was Casillas' play in net that turned this match into a destruction.

2. Jordi Alba

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    Jordi Alba's surging runs were incredible to watch.

    As Iniesta would begin to cut inside, you could see Alba flying up the side, calling for the ball the whole way. Sometimes, he would get the ball. Other times, he would jog back to his spot waiting for another opportunity.

    Then, when Xavi was pushing forward, Alba made one of the most determined runs I've ever seen, followed by a great finish. Mind you, Xavi made an incredible pass to set it up, but it wouldn't have happened without Alba's determination.

    It was the 23-year-old's first goal for Spain, and it was a great one. He doubled the lead, and everyone could sense how the rest of the match would play out.

1. Xavi

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    He's simply the best.

    Throughout the tournament, everyone was down on Spain. La Roja could do no right. Meanwhile, no one could stop talking about how great Andrea Pirlo was playing (he was out of his mind).

    In the final, Xavi set the record straight. The 32-year-old Catalan is the greatest midfield maestro in the world.

    Not to take anything away from Pirlo, but Xavi put on an absolute clinic in the final. He moved the ball around effortlessly. He pushed forward with determination. And he had a pep in his step for the first time in the tournament.

    Xavi didn't look like himself for most of the Euros. Maybe he was tired, or he was saving himself. Either way, he put in a legendary performance against Italy. He was the best player on the pitch, and he's the biggest reason Spain is still the European champion.