On-form Spain beat Italy 4-0 in the final of the European championship to make it three tournament wins on the bounce.
Spain sealed a third consecutive tournament win by beating Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final – a feat never before achieved in international football.
Remarkably Spain closed the tournament on a run of 510 minutes without conceding as they were only breached once in the entire competition.
That run also extends the world champions’ run of not conceding in tournament knockout games to 10 matches. It was also the biggest margin of victory in a final during the European tournament’s entire history and underlines La Roja’s status as one of the best national sides ever.
Uncharacteristically Spain had less of the ball in the opening period than the Italians but led at half-time thanks to goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba.
And when Cesare Prandelli’s side were reduced to 10 men when Thiago Motta went off injured after the break the holders rammed home their man advantage with further goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
“In the first half we didn’t have so much of the ball but with the two times we threatened we scored,” said Pique.
“With the injury to Motta everything was much easier as they had been left with 10.”
Mario Balotelli should accept Italy were beaten by a better side in last night’s Euro 2012 final according to the striker’s coach Cesare Prandelli.
Although, Balotelli returned to collect his medal in the Olympic Stadium following the Azzurri’s 4-0 hammering by Spain, the 21-year-old was clearly upset at how the evening had unfolded.
Initially, the Manchester City man stormed straight down the tunnel at the final whistle, and angrily shrugged off the attempts of Italian officials to stop him.
He refused to speak with reporters as he made his way out of stadium, at the end of a thoroughly miserable night.
“There are times when you have to hold your hands up accept defeat,” said Prandelli. “Sometimes you must say your opponent was better than you.”
The Azzurri conceded twice in each half as they were overpowered by the defending champions. It condemned them to suffer the heaviest defeat in a final and left Balotelli shattered after he had gone into the game with such high hopes of securing the prestigious Golden Boot prize.