Euro 2012: Tricampeones & a Dynasty! Final Power Ranking the Spain Players
Spain: officially a dynasty!
It wasn't even close as La Furia Roja cruised to a 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final. Andres Iniesta lead the way on offense, as his playmaking caused trouble for the Italian defenders. David Silva had a fantastic game as he secured the opening goal from a great pass by Cesc Fabregas.
Xavi got out of the funk he was in and served as architect of the Spanish attack by setting up the plays, including the through ball to his new FC Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba for the second goal. Xavi made another through ball to Fernando Torres to make it 3-0.
Juan Mata finally got a few minutes playing time and got a goal in the dying minutes as Spain defeated Italy 4-0. This would be their third European championship in La Roja history and Spain's third major tournament in a row–a feat no team had ever accomplished until now.
But without a doubt, the best strategy Vicente del Bosque made for this game was the marking of Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo.
Sergio Ramos shut down Balotelli. Mario was double and even triple teamed at times. Prilo suffered the same fate, as the Spanish defenders, along with Xabi Alonso and Xavi, came to double Andrea and take him out of the game.
In my final article covering Euro 2012 for Bleacher Report, I decided to do my last power ranking for the Spanish players of Euro 2012. Some of the players shined more than others, while others did not have to best of tournaments to say the least.
Using an A-Z grade scale, I give you the final power rankings for the European champions Spain of Euro 2012.
Iker Casillas and Defenders
Iker Casillas: What more can be said about a goalkeeper that only allowed one goal throughout the tournament? Not very much. Saint Iker was brilliant throughout the tournament.
I feel Iker should be considered for FIFA Ballon d'Or 2012, though only one GK has ever won the award.
After a championship season with Real Madrid, a European title with Spain now and not to mention, an upcoming marriage to lovely Sara Carboneo, Saint Iker Casillas is having a golden year.
Alvaro Arbeloa: Solid tournament for AA. Good games in the group stages. Was a bit off against Portugal in the semis, but overall, Arbeloa played a balanced game throughout Euro 2012.
Gerard Pique: This was not a good Euro 2012 for Gerard Pique.
Making bad passes, allowing defenders to get by him, and not being aware of where the player he needs to mark is on the pitch are just a few things that Shakira's boyfriend struggled with.
Pique did have some better games. Against Portugal, he made a penalty kick and in the final against Italy, he helped shut down Mario Balotelli.
I'm giving Gerard Pique a "C," as his PK and his play in the final bumped him up significantly.
Sergio Ramos: The Real Madrid defender started shaky in this tournament but came on strong after that.
In the final, Ramos was all over Balotelli. Sergio also made that Pirlo-esque PK against Portugal in the semifinal.
I'm very happy for Sergio Ramos. He went from that disaster of a PK against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, which left him the the butt of countless jokes and memes, to redeeming himself at Euro 2012. Great job, Sergio!
Jordi Alba: If you didn't know Jordi Alba before Euro 2012, you know him and his game very well now.
I am giving Jordi Alba the award for "Breakthrough Artist Award" for Euro 2012.
Alba was clearly the best left-back in the tournament. He was a hawk out on the pitch, by constantly coming up on offense and working alongside Andres Iniesta to set up the attack.
Alba's speed made it difficult for both the opponent's offensive players and defensive players.
His greatest moment was the goal in the final. Alba demonstrated his speed, agility, and ability to play offense as he flew past the Italian defenders and found the Xavi through ball, placing it past Gianluigi Buffon to make it 2-0.
Jordi Alba was the breakout star of Euro 2012 and will be taking his talents back to his homeland of Catalunya as the new LB of FC Barcelona this upcoming season.
Sergio Busquets: Not a great Euro for Busi. Struggle for the most part and never played a major part in the Spanish attack or defense.
Sergio played a bit better in the knockout stages, but overall, Busquets had a relivitly quiet Euro 2012.
Xabi Alonso: Good Euro for Xabi. Struggled in the first games against Italy and Republic of Ireland. Played better against Croatia. Alonso came on strong in the knockout stages as he had a brace in the quarterfinal against France. Alonso did get this PK blocked but played well in the 120 minutes before.
In the final, Xabi was quiet, but he contributed by helping the Spanish defenders mark Mario Balotelli and Andrea Pirlo.
Xavi: Xavi got back into things in the final after having three quiet games in a row. Started off great in Euro 2012 against Italy and Ireland. Xavi looked like the general of La Roja as he would come back to the back line, controlling the tempo and setting up the Spanish offense. A tremendous through ball to Jordi Alba for the 2-0 lead in the final. Xavi set up Fernando Torres for the third goal as well.
Overall, Xavi gets a "B" for the tournament.
Forwards and Substitutes
David Silva: A good but not great Euro 2012 for the Manchester City player. Had a good game against Italy in the first game as he set up Cesc Fabregas for the lone Spain goal in the game. Against Ireland, El Chino got a goal in the 4-0 win. Played well in the knockout stage games. In the final, Silva was there to head in Cesc Fabregas' cross for the opening goal.
David Silva gets a "B".
Cesc Fabregas: Cesc was in the center of the "false nine" issues as Cesc's start in the first game of the tournament stunned everybody. Nevertheless, Cesc showed the critics that Spain could play well without a true striker. Fabregas got the equalizer in the first game against the Italians. Cesc came off the bench in the game against Ireland and got a nice goal off the post. It was his pass that set up Andres Iniesta to Jesus Navas for the game-winning goal in Spain's victory over Croatia.
Fabregas had a quiet game against France but had a terrific game against Portugal, culminating in the game-winning penalty shot that would send Spain to the final.
In the final against Italy, Cesc set up David Silva in for the 1-0 lead.
Cesc had a fantastic Euro 2012 and gets an "A-".
Andres Iniesta: Without a doubt, Andres Iniesta was the best player for Spain in Euro 2012.
Throughout the tournament, you saw Andres charge and lead the attack. The final was no exception. Don Andres was named Man of the Match as he held the Spanish attack.
Even though he didn’t score a goal in Euro 2012, Iniesta’s intelligence, speed, and heart carried Spain to this European Championship.
Andres was named the Best Player of Euro 2012 by UEFA, who said Iniesta won the award because of his "creativity, incisive football and humility."
Don Andres Iniesta: "A" for amazing.
Fernando Torres: Torres had a tough game in the first Italy showdown. El Niño got himself a brace against Ireland. After two solid games, Torres struggled terribly against Croatia and France. He was kept on the bench for the Portugal game.
Torres came in for Cesc in the 75th minute of the final and got his goal in the last few minutes of the game. He also set up his Chelsea teammate Juan Mata for the forth goal.
Fernando Torres had, without a doubt, the oddest Euro 2012. He struggled at times, yet he left the tournament with a Golden Boot for the most goals in Euro 2012—three goals and one assist.
For this, Torres gets a "B+".
Pedro, Jesus Navas, Javi Martinez, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla: A grade of "Pass" for all of them, as they were the other Spanish players that got playing time at Euro 2012.
Overall Grade and Conclusion
My overall grade for Spain in Euro 2012 is, of course, an "A"!
I am so proud of this Spanish team. Every Spaniard, half-Spanish, or anyone of Spanish descent–regardless of what part of España you or your family are from–must put their club team differences aside and unite at this moment of joy and celebration.
It's not about Barcelona or Real Madrid, or Valencia, or Bilbao, and so on.
La Roja comes before all rivalries! Ask Iker Casillas and Xavi if you don't think it does.
We are all witnesses to arguably the greatest national football team of all time. Let's enjoy this ride!
They say all good things must come to an end.
But with the talented youth in this Spanish national team, as well as the talent they have at the U-17, U-21, and U-23 sides–not to mention the talented Spanish players who play in La Liga–we may just be at the beginning of the greatest run and the greatest dynasty the game of football has ever and will ever see.
In my opinion, this Spain National Football Team is already one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, not just football history.
Euro 2008: ✔
World Cup 2010: ✔
Euro 2012: ✔
World Cup 2014: Next!
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