July 2012: Record triple for European champions Spain

With their 4-0 (2-0) victory over Italy on the evening of July 1, 2012, Spain once again won the European title and made football history. The World Cup champion team coached by Vicente del Bosque gained their third major back-to-back title in the final in Kiev and thus achieved a first in world football. The team, consisting mainly of players from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, also became the first to successfully defend the European title. In addition, the 4-0 score-line was the highest final victory in European Championship history.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
The Spaniards rejoice after receiving the trophy from UEFA President Michel Platini. They are the first team to successfully defend the European title. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


The domination by the “Seleccion” began with the European Championship triumph over Germany in Vienna in 2008, followed by their first World title in 2010, and now the high point with the “triple” in Kiev. After previous wins in 1964 and 2008 Spain now join former record winning European champions Germany with three titles. Del Bosque is the second coach since Germany’s Helmut Schoen to win the World and European titles with his team.

David Silva (14th minute), Jordi Alba (41st), Fernando Torres (84th) and Juan Mata (88th) scored the goals in front of 64,640 spectators in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, and ended the Italian dream of a repeat of the football fairy tale at the 2006 World Cup and their second European title in 1968. As happened six years ago, the “Squadra Azzurra” started the tournament with certain problems, before collecting themselves and ousting Germany in the semi-finals. “We made history, that’s a great moment. But we have to think about the future”, said del Bosque. “We want to represent Europe well at the 2013 Confederations Cup and qualify for the 2014 World Cup”. After the gala appearance in Kiev, the Spaniards start as odds on favourites for both tournaments in Brazil. “It is fantastic. As yet we haven’t really grasped what we have achieved”, said Andres Iniesta, who was elected the best player in the final by the European Football Association UEFA

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Iker Cassilas saves a shot from Antonio Di Natale. The goalkeeper celebrated his 100th international victory in his 132nd match and laid the foundation for the title hat-trick.(Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Italy’s coach Cesare Prandelli was forced to change his starting line-up after 20 minutes when he sent on Federico Balzaretti for injured defender Giorgio Chiellini. The Italians were unlucky with their changes. Antonio Di Natale, who replaced stricken Antonio Cassano in the second half, missed two easy chances (46th, 51st). Thiago Motta, the substitute for Riccardo Montolivo, played just four minutes before he suffered a hamstring injury in his right thigh and was carried off. One man down, the Italians fought against defeat for 28 minutes. But the Azzurri could not match their performance which brought a 1-1 draw with Spain in the first round. Even del Bosque acknowledged that the Italians were at a disadvantage as they had one day less break after the semi-finals. But all Italians admitted that that wasn’t the decisive factor. “They are simply the best team ever”, Riccardo Montolivo said. Prior to the semi-final against Germany the Italians’ break was two days shorter, but they still triumphed in Warsaw on June 28.

Emptiness and silence reigned with co-favourites Germany

After four wins in four matches Germany suffered a bitter defeat in the semi-finals. With the 2-1 (2-0) loss to Italy the team coached by Joachim Loew failed because of inadequate tactics, a faulty fighting spirit, bad defending, and an ineffective attack. “Naturally the disappointment is great at first”, said Loew, but he defended his team’s overall performance at the tournament, which on the whole was successful despite some criticism about his tactics. Team manager Oliver Bierhoff spoke about the shock triggered by the repeat defeat to the four-time World Cup champions. “Everyone is falling into a deep hole, everyone had believed in our aims. Now emptiness is reigning, silence, a deep disappointment”, Bierhoff added.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Mario Balotelli’s (centre) goal to give Italy a 1-0 lead. Holger Badstuber is too late, Manuel Neuer had no chance. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


The German team did not display the gutsy courage of the 2010 World Cup. Without great fighting spirit, plus some bad luck, the selection of the German Football Association, DFB, lost their eighth competitive match at a World Cup and European Championship to the Azzurri. The Italians reached the European Championship final for the first time since 2000 with two great goals from Mario Balotelli, a header (20th) and a powerful shot from 16 metres (36th). The consolation goal scored by Mesut Oezil from the penalty spot for handball (90th+2) came too late for the German team, the youngest at the UEFA EURO 2012 with an average age of 24.52 years. “We have closed the gap with other top teams. We will have our chances in the future”, were Loew’s words of farewell, after receiving some harsh criticism at home. “We not only wanted to get into the final, we wanted to win the tournament. But then you meet an opponent who is cooler and more experienced”, said Holger Badstuber.

Ronaldo’s goodbye after a penalty shoot-out thriller

Spain had kept the dream of the triple alive despite problems in Donetsk in the first semi-final the previous day. The World champions encountered difficulties for 120 minutes, ending goalless, with a strong Portuguese team. Then the tournament favourites defeated their neighbours from the Iberian peninsula 4-2 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out. In the second round at the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town Spain had also defeated the 2004 European runners-up narrowly 1-0. “Our heroes. Into the final and the history books“, read the large Spanish sports paper “Marca”. “Adiós Cristiano Ronaldo.

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner

ContiSoccerWorld, Conti, Continental, Reifen, Fußball, FIFA WM 2010, Confederations Cup 2005, Hildebrand, Casillas, UEFA EURO 2008, Koerbel, Deutschland, Sponsoring, German Engineering, Conti-Stars, WM-Tickets gewinnen, Tickets, FIFA-Partner
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) tackled by Xabi Alonso, his Spanish team-mate with Real Madrid, who ultimately won the encounter with Spain. (Photo: sampics/Augenklick)


The Portuguese says goodbye to the European Championship and the Golden Ball”, screamed the newspaper “Sport” in large letters. The failure to score by Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who played with and against some of his team-mates at Real Madrid, was the team’s weakness. He wanted to take the last penalty, but after Joao Moutinho and Bruno Alves missed, he didn’t get an opportunity. Cesc Fabregas ascertained the final for Spain by converting his penalty for 4-2. Then four days later the “Furia Rosa” (the Red Fury) kicked off a great Spanish fiesta.